Elfrid Payton Starts Again As Team USA Dominates Russia
The U-19 team USA basketball team continues to dominate the competition in the Czech Republic, handling the Russian team today by the score of 115-47. Louisiana's Ragin' Cajun point guard Elfrid Payton started for the third straight time, but only played 14 minutes due to foul trouble.
Despite the limited minutes, Payton scored six points with two rebounds, one assist, one block and three steals. With the victory, team USA (3-0) wins the "D" pool title at the FIBA U19 World Basketball Championships. As a result, Payton and his teammates and check one goal of their list.
"We accomplished our first team goal by winning our pool," Payton said. "That feels real good, but we know that the games are going to get a lot tougher starting on Monday.
"I did what I could today. I had six points, three steals and grabbed a couple of boards. There is so much talent on this team.
"This is a really good group of guys and we have developed some pretty good chemistry so far. We are all focused on reaching our ultimate goal. Six more games to go to get the gold," Payton noted.
With opening pool play over, the competition heats up next week for team USA, who are one of 12 teams remaining in the championship tournament. After taking tomorrow off, team USA enters the six-team Group "F" pool. Their next opponent is Brazil on Monday (July 1) at 11:00 a.m. CDT, followed by a matchup with Australia on Tuesday (July 2) at 1:15 p.m. CDT and then Serbia on Wednesday (July 3) at 1:15 CDT.
In order to advance past Group "F", team USA must finish in the top 4. If they do, Payton and his teammates will compete in the quarterfinals, which will begin on Friday, July 5.