USA, Anthony Davis rout Ukraine, go unbeaten in pool play

by Jim Eichenhofer

During the late stages of another one-sided USA Basketball victory Thursday, ESPN2 analyst Fran Fraschilla opined that the leading candidates for Most Valuable Player of the 2014 World Cup are Americans Anthony Davis and Kenneth Faried, along with Spain’s Pau Gasol. By Davis’ recent standards, a 12-point, six-rebound performance vs. Ukraine didn’t necessarily qualify as an MVP-caliber outing, but it still helped spark Team USA to a dominant win.

USA defeated Ukraine by a 95-71 margin, in a relatively ho-hum affair that had no consequences standings-wise for the winners. America (5-0) had already wrapped up first place in Group C and advanced to the knockout stage, which begins Saturday with a 9 a.m. Central game vs. Mexico. The game will be broadcast by ESPN2.

Davis led Team USA during pool play with an average of 15.8 points per game and is second on the squad in rebounding average (6.4), trailing only Faried (7.8). He also tops his team with a blocks average of 1.8. The 21-year-old has been extremely efficient in Spain, shooting 62.7 percent from the field.

On Thursday, Davis had a relatively quiet first half, dropping in a pair of first-quarter baskets, including a layup and a dunk. He tacked on eight points in the second half, by virtue of two dunks and two close-range lay-ins. Davis authored one of the game’s premier highlights early in the fourth quarter, when he stole a Ukraine pass, dribbled the length of the court and threw down a soaring one-handed fast-break slam. He was 6-for-9 overall from the field.