Unites States 86, Italy 64
MALAGA, Spain (AP) _ Sparked by the quickness of guards Kenny Smith, Tommy Amaker, Tyrone Bogues and Steve Kerr, the United States defeated Italy 86-64 Thursday to finish first in Group C after the first round of the World Basketball Championships.
The United States concluded the week-long first-round competition with a 5-0 record and advanced to the semifinal round at Oviedo. Italy and West Germany also advanced from Group C.
Three teams from Group D, Yugoslavia, Canada and Argentina, will join the three Group C teams at Oviedo. There will be another semifinal round at Barcelona.
The United States took a 22-12 lead over Italy after nine minutes and a 36-16 advantage with less than seven minutes left in the first half. The Americans’ biggest lead in the second half was 75-48.
David Robinson, the 6-foot-11 center from the Naval Academy, finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds, six blocked shots and an uncounted number of intimidations.
″You could tell Italy was looking for him when they got the ball inside,″ U.S. Coach Lute Olson said of Robinson’s play.
Amaker, Smith, Bogues and Kerr used their speed advantage to set up numerous fast breaks with some crowd-pleasing passes and dunks. Smith, from North Carolina, paced the United States with 20 points, including two three- point field goals.
Amaker, from Duke, started the game after playing only two minutes in the previous game against Puerto Rico.
″We wanted to put pressure on them from the beginning. With that our best guard combinations are Amaker with Smith and Kerr with Bogues,″ Olson, the coach at Arizona, said.
Amaker responded with eight points, eight steals and three assists.
Bogues, the 5-3 guard from Wake Forest, delighted the crowd with his speed, aggressive defense and dazzling passes. He had four points and three assists.
Kerr, of Arizona, had only two points but played some excellent defense that help force Italy into 14 turnovers.
The United States now has two days off before facing Argentina on Sunday.
The teams carry over their record from the first round against the other qualifiers. Thus the United States enters the semifinal round with a 2-0 record as a result of victories against Italy and China. Yugoslavia, which won its group, also has a 2-0 record.