Hawkins key in U.S. win

Thursday, July 30, 1998

BY The Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece -- Xavier University product Michael Hawkins scored 12 points and added 10 assists to help the United States take a 83-59 opening round victory over Brazil in the World Basketball Championships Wednesday.

"We were definitely anxious at the start," said Hawkins, who has played in the NBA, CBA, and most recently in Greece for Olympiakos. "I guess I should feel a little more comfortable here in Greece, maybe more than some of the other guys. But not right away I wasn't," added Hawkins, whose 10 assists were a record for a U.S. player in the championship.

Instead of a jam-packed Olympic stadium cheering on a team of NBA stars, only about 500 people showed up in the 18,000-seat arena. Under different conditions -- had there been no NBA lockout -- opening day would have been a sellout.

"We have our family and friends out there rooting for us and really that's the only thing we're concerned about," said Wendell Alexis, who led the U.S. with 13 points.

The Americans won with pressure defense and scored off an up-tempo offense as they forced Brazil into frequent turnovers and overcame early jitters after trailing by five after 10 minutes.

"We just had to knock the dust off, break the seal. Then our defense really helped us get some easy baskets," U.S. coach Rudy Tomjanovich said. "What you saw tonight was a team that's 12 deep. That's going to be our strength." In the other Group C game -- where the Americans are the favorite -- Lithuania defeated South Korea 97-56 behind 20 points from Darius Lukminus and 19 from Arturas Karnishovas.

UNITED STATES (83) - Hawkins 3-3 6-7 12, Sasser 4-11 1-2 9, Oliver 1-7 0-0 2, G.King 4-6 0-0 8, Wood 0-3 0-0 0, Langdon 2-2 0-0 6, Garris 1-3 0-0 2, J.King 3-4 1-3 7, Edwards 2-6 0-2 5, Alexis 5-12 1-4 13, Amaya 3-3 1-2 7, Miller 4-4 4-5 12. Totals 32-64 14-25 83.

BRAZIL (59) - Cazziolato 4-8 2-2 11, Vianna 5-8 1-1 11, Ferraciu 1-8 0-0 2, Josuel 2-6 3-4 7, Klafke 4-10 1-2 12, Machado 0-0 0-0 0, Fonsecca 3-5 2-4 10, Varejao 0-1 1-2 1, Rubens 0-1 0-0 0, Clemente 0-2 0-0 0, Joerke 1-6 3-6 5. Totals 20-55 13-21 59.

Halftim - United States 40, Brazil 32. 3-Point goals_United States 5-19 (Langdon 2-2, Alexis 2-4, Edwards 1-4, Sasser 0-1, Garris 0-1, J.King 0-1, Wood 0-2, Oliver 0-4), Brazil 6-13 (Klafke 3-7, Fonsecca 2-3, Cazziolato 1-2, Ferraciu 0-1). Fouled out_Garris, Vianna. Rebounds_United States 43 (Alexis 8), Brazil 32 (Josuel 7). Assists_United States 19 (Hawkins 10), Brazil 7 (Ferraciu 4). Total fouls_United States 21, Brazil 21. A_NA.

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