Wednesday, September 05, 2001

Martin wins fans at Goodwill Games

The Associated Press

        BRISBANE, Australia — Former University of Cincinnati star Kenyon Martin knew how to win over the Australian crowd watching the USA-Cuba basketball game at the Goodwill Games Wednesday.

        After one of his thundering dunks, Martin gave the signal for a goal in Australian Rules football, delighting the fans at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Center.

        “I've been watching TV,” Martin said of the gesture. “I was just having fun.”

        Martin led the U.S. with 19 points on 8-of-9 shooting and the Americans put on another dunking exhibition in beating Cuba 111-70.

        The Americans' third straight lopsided victory — they won the first game by a record 74 points, the second by 30 — put them into Saturday's semifinals. In the three victories, the Americans have averaged 113 points while allowing an average of 65.

        In their first two games in the round-robin tournament, the Americans had appeared rather sluggish in the first period. This time, they came out energized and overwhelmed the winless Cubans.

        “We wanted to be sharp,” coach Flip Saunders said about the U.S. team's first-quarter blitz. “We tried to take the game away quickly.”

        That's exactly what the Americans did.

        They scored 12 straight points for a 16-2 advantage, then closed the period with an 11-1 run.

        Former Miami University star Wally Szczerbiak seemed to best sum up the Americans' domination so far.

        “It's not a very competitive tournament and that makes it hard,” he said. “We're just playing and having fun.”

        “We're trying to put on a show for the fans.”


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