ANDONG, South Korea - The U.S. Armed Forces men's basketball team slam-dunked their way to huge wins in their first two events this weekend in the CISM World Games at Andong Indoor Gymnasium.
Team USA beat Canada Saturday, 98-55, and went on to beat the Germans Sunday, 101 to 50, dominating the stats in almost every category.
"We're better athletically all around, so take advantage of it," USA assistant coach Anwar Johnson told the team at halftime Saturday. He told the players to "tip the ball, grab it and go" because they were faster than the opposition and could break down court quicker. His players were also able to get six steals the first half and made 67 percent of their field goal attempts.
They came back out running and hitting the boards. Team co-captain Ella Ellis scored a quick layup, followed by an Alfonso Evans dunk moments later. Good passes set up the scores and Team USA had a total of 11 assists during the game.
The Canadians suffered a total of 19 turnovers, and USA had the ball stolen only once.
Ellis scored a high of 24 points, followed by Jahmal Lawson with 19. Todd Fletcher and Tyronne Beale each scored 12 points.
"You're never really sure how you're going to come out the first game," said Lawson, the other co-captain of Team USA. "For some of the guys, it’s the first time they've played in this type of environment ... they've never worn the red, white and blue for the USA.
"Everyone had a little bit of the jitters gong in," Lawson admitted. "It's good to get it off our chest."
Against Germany Sunday, USA made 39 of 81 field goal attempts. Germany only scored on 16 of 58 shots.
Beale scored a high of 26 points Sunday, followed by Ellis with 20. Michael Lyons and Lawson each scored 10. Evans and Matthew Holland scored nine each.
Team USA was able to get 24 steals, compared to only nine by Germany.
Yet there's room for improvement, according to USA head coach Ricardo Bachelor. He said defense looked good only in spurts Saturday and he urged the team to keep on their defensive game.
"We have to guard the ball," emphasized assistant coach Johnson.
USA next plays host-nation South Korea Oct. 6.