HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – The United States Olympic Men’s Basketball defeated Nigeria 110-66 in their final exhibition before the 2016 Olympics on Monday at Toyota Center.
Carmelo Anthony led the Americans in scoring with 19 points and added five rebounds. Kyle Lowry finished with eight points, eight rebounds and a game high 11 assists starting in place of Kyrie Irving who was out with a left thigh contusion.
Nigeria kept the game close in the early stages including pulling the game top within a point at 13-12 with three minutes remaining in the first period. The United States would follow up with a 14-2 run led by Klay Thompson’s eight points in the quarter to take a 27-14 lead after the first 10 minutes.
Nigeria, who has been a solid three-point shooting team in previous games, was just 4-for-29 (13.8%) which lead to the increased separation for the majority of the game for Team USA.
The Americans outscored the Nigerians in each quarter and by double digits in the first three stanzas.
Neither Irving or Paul George played in Monday’s exhibition finale. With some of the injuries and with Monday being the final game before traveling to Brazil, USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski wanted to try some different line-ups.
“We wanted to share the ball well and try some people at different positions with different line-ups,” Coach K said. “I thought we advanced today. I thought we got better tonight.”
Anthony, who will be playing for USA Basketball for the fifth time in his career and enters his fourth Olympic games is the elder statesman this time around with several players on the 2016 roster entering their first international competition.
Anthony still enjoys the experience of competing for Team USA despite having had this experience on several occasions now.
“Before I was one of the young guys now I am kind of one of the elder guys who has been around the block a couple times,” Anthony said. “The excitement is still there to know that we have an opportunity to do something special with a new group of guys, new face of our country and for me to be a part of that; I’m excited about that.”
Thompson finished with 17 points while his new teammate with Golden State Kevin Durant added 14. DeAndre Jordan was a rebound shy of a double-double scoring 10 points.
The Americans will face China in their group A opening game game on Saturday in Rio. Australia, France, Serbia, Venezuela will be their other opponents in group A play.
Alex Del Barrio can be heard on Saturday afternoons with Matt Murphy from 3-7 pm and on Sunday afternoons with Jeremy Branham on Sportsradio 610. Follow Alex Del Barrio on Twitter: @alexdelbarrio