Tim Hardaway Jr. Hits Game Winner, Team USA Moves to 2-0

Dylan Burkhardt

Small_USA_8[1]Team USA trailed Serbia late in the fourth quarter but managed to battle back for a 80-78 win to advance to 2-0 in FIBA U19 World Championship group play. Michigan sophomore Tim Hardaway Jr. had an up and down game, making just one of seven three point shots, but hit the game winner with 47 seconds remaining. Hardaway finished the game with 11 points, a team high four assists, two steals and one rebound in 22 minutes.

Joe Jackson (Memphis) led Team USA with 19 points while Patric Young (13) and Tony Mitchell Jr. (11) also reached double figures. Team USA made 25 of 27 free throws but connected on just 1 of 13 three pointers. (Box score)

Through two games, Hardaway is averaging 9 points and four assists while shooting 42% from the field. Quotes and notes after the jump.

Here are some quotes from Tim Hardaway Jr. (via USA Basketball) on the game:

Talk about tonight’s game:
It came down to some big plays. We didn’t hold our head down, we all came together as a team and I think this W proves to everybody that we are playing together and we are getting better, and at the same time we’re not holding our heads down or fussing or fighting even though we were down five with 5 minutes left in the fourth quarter. We all came together and said, ‘let’s huddle up and get the W’ and it paid off.

How import is a win in a game like this?
It’s very important. It builds team chemistry and gives everybody the utmost confidence to go into the next games and come out with more Ws. It’s just another step to get us to the gold medal game.

A lot of players on this team can contribute. How important is that?
It’s very important. It’s not going to be everybody’s night. Joe Jackson had a great game playing against Egypt and we needed him and he gave us some big layups and some big fast-break points in the fourth quarter. And like coach said, it’s a long tournament and we’re only at two games so we still have a lot of game before we get to the gold medal game. We just have to come out here and play every day.

Talk about your game tonight:
I was just taking what the defense gave me and my teammates did a great job of finding me, and I was able to come up with big baskets when we needed them. The ball was in my hands and I like the ball in my hands when we need a basket.

Team USA will conclude pool play on Saturday against China (0-2) at 11:15 a.m. ET. The top three teams from all four pools will advance to the second round, forming two groups of six teams. Teams will play three second round games against the teams that they did not play in the first round — USA will play the top three teams from Group C which includes Canada, Croatia, Lithuania and South Korea.

Second round games will be played three straight days beginning on Monday, July 4th. Bracket play will begin with quarterfinals on July 8th and conclude with the gold medal game on July10th.

  • ThWard

    Awesome.  Love the experience THJ is getting.

  • ScottGoBlue

    THJ takes over half the teams’ 3-pt shots, misses all but one, and still is averaging 42%.  Just imagine what he could do if he hit some of those.  Go get ’em, Tim.

  • DingoBlue

    Just did a quick check.  TH Jr. averaged just under 2 assists per game throughout 2010-2011.  Currently averaging 4 APG (over two games) so far in FIBA.  Hopefully this is a good sign that he’s learning to distribute more along with everything else.

    • Billiam

       I have to say I looked at that stat too.  With Darius leaving, and the fiasco that was Manny Harris’ distribution two years ago, I really hope that THJ learns how to get those assists.  Basically, him learning how to be a set-up man will be really important next year. 

      Oh, and good luck team USA!

      • Tim’s assist numbers went up pretty significantly as the year went on. Basically as he started running more P&R sets, his assist numbers went up. 

      • gpsimms

        just out of curiousity, what do you mean the fiasco that was manny’s distribution two years ago?

        his assist rate was always pretty good….

        • Mattski

          That was one of the raps on Manny–never accorded with reality, but some myths die hard.

      • Guest

        Manny Harris assist rate was 27.7% which is good for 277th in the country in 2010 and his assist rate in 2009 was 32.2% which is good for 43rd in the country.

        Not sure how you maintain that there’s a fiasco of Manny Harris’ distribution???  To be honest, if his teammates can hit shots, Manny’s assist numbers would go up.

        • Yup. Manny passed the ball pretty damn well for a guy playing the three. I’d say we’d be lucky if Hardaway can reach a similar assist rate of around 30%.

          • gpsimms

            in fact, the decrease in his assist rate from soph to junior year is probably completely covered by the decrease in stu and zacks 3pt%

  • Mattski

    Neat. Maybe he has a monster breakout game coming. Either way, fantastic.