USA clobber Nigeria 156-73 in basketball, dunk Olympic record
By Tom Withers ,AP
August 4, 2012, 12:11 am TWN
LONDON -- The U.S. men's Olympic basketball team stayed undefeated in record-setting fashion, getting 37 points from Carmelo Anthony and breaking the Olympic mark for points in a game in a 156-73 rout of Nigeria on Thursday night.
Anthony was 10 of 12 on 3-pointers in surpassing the 31 points scored by Stephon Marbury in 2004. The Americans finished 29 of 46 behind the arc, easily surpassing the 13 3-pointers they made in the 2008 gold-medal game.
Russell Westbrook added 21 points in an awesome performance that saw the Americans make 11 3-pointers in the first quarter, and they were only getting started.
Ike Diogu had 27 points for Nigeria. The Nigerians had said they weren't intimidated by the Americans, who seem to be sending a message to the rest of the teams in the tournament that they are as good as advertised.
Meanwhile, Jose Calderon scored eight of his 19 points in the final 44 seconds, then eluded defenders frantically trying to foul him to run out the clock as Spain held on to beat winless Britain 79-78 in Olympic men's basketball Thursday.
The hosts were within two but Luol Deng threw away a pass, leading to Calderon's fast-break layup. After another turnover, Calderon sank a pair of free throws for a 75-69 lead with 39 seconds left.
Dan Clark's 3-pointer cut it to three, but Calderon answered with two more free throws. A 3-pointer by Nate Reinking made it a two-point game, and again Calderon hit two foul shots. Deng answered with another 3-pointer to make 79-78 with 7.2 seconds to go, but Span inbounded to Calderon and the British couldn't catch him to foul.
Pau Gasol scored 17 and Marc Gasol had 12 points for Spain (3-0).
Deng finished with 26 points and Joel Freeland added 25 for Britain.
Incredibly, the U.S. eclipsed the 100-point mark with 5 minutes left in the third.
And when Andre Iguodala hit a 3-pointer with 4:37 left, the Americans had surpassed the previous Olympic record of 138 points set by Brazil against Egypt in 1988. When the record was announced to the mesmerized crowd, all the players seated on the U.S. bench got up and slapped hands with coach Mike Krzyzewki and his staff.
Kobe Bryant scored 16 points — 14 in the first quarter — for the Americans, who scored 49 points in the first and didn't let up after scoring 78 in the first 20 minutes.
Russell Westbrook had 21 and Kevin Durant 14 for the U.S., which will play Lithuania on Saturday.
Bryant was mostly a non-factor in wins over France and Tunisia, playing just 21 minutes and getting into early foul trouble. But from the outset against Nigeria, the two-time Olympian nicknamed the Black Mamba was as deadly as ever. Bryant set the tone by scoring seven quick points as the U.S. (3-0) raced to a 13-0 lead.
Durant buried three 3-pointers, Bryant and Anthony added two from long-range and when Kevin Love came off the bench and knocked down his first 3, the U.S. team's shooting gallery of stars had opened a 41-15 lead and made the p.a. announcer's pregame comment that “anything is possible” seem prophetic.
U.S. forward Carmelo Anthony scores during the men's preliminary round basketball match USA vs. Nigeria of the London 2012 Olympic Games on Thursday, Aug. 2. USA won 156-73. (AFP)