Tigers blow out Ukraine to win Gold Medal at the World University Games
Clemson (Team USA) did not need any late game stops this time around.
After living on the edge for much of the World University Games in Italy, the Tigers got 20 points from John Newman and 12 from Aamir Simms as they rolled to an easy 85-63 victory over Ukraine to win the Gold Medal Thursday at Palasport Del Mauroin in Avellino, Italy.
Clemson’s win gave the United States its first Gold Medal in men’s basketball at the World University Games since 2015 and second since 2005. The United States won their 15th gold medal overall in men’s basketball at the World University Games.
Clemson went 6-0 in the tournament, with four of those wins coming by four points or less, including a 57-56 win over Ukraine in the preliminary round. However, on Thursday, the Tigers used a 16-2 first period run and never looked back.
The United States, who outrebounded Ukraine, 42-36, shot 43 percent from the field and held Ukraine to 35-percent shooting. Ten United States players scored in the game. Joining Newman and Simms in double digits was Trey Jemison, who added 11 points.
Ukraine made a push early in the third period to try and get back in the game, but Clemson responded with a quick run of its own thanks to Newman and Simms to take back control. Team USA cruised to the easy win from that point on.
Clemson led by as many as 27 points after Trey Jemison’s put-back with 4:40 to play. That gave the Tigers a 79-52 lead.
Ukraine opened the second half with a 10-2 run, but Clemson responded with six straight points, four coming from Newman, who made two technical fouls and then hit a floater in the lane on the next possession to up the lead back to 19 points. Simms’ dunk after a nice no-look pass from Curran Scott gave the Tigers’ a 56-33 lead with 4:55 to go in the period.
Clemson led 48-23 at halftime. Newman led the Tigers with 11 first half points, while Tevin Mack and Khavon Moore both scored six points. Simms had seven first-half points.
The Tigers outscored the Ukraine by eight points in the second period, while extending its lead to 25 points overall.
Clemson opened the second period with a 10-2 run as Moore and Mack both contributed in the run. Mack drained a corner three to give the Tigers a 38-17 lead with 5:11 to play in the half.
After getting off to slow start, Clemson got rolling thanks to the play of Simms and Newman. The two men jump started a 16-2 run after Ukraine scored the game’s first six points.
Later in the period, Scott and Hunter Tyson made a couple of baskets as the Tigers built a 13-point lead and led 28-15 at the end of the quarter. Clemson shot 57 percent from the field in the first quarter.
Clemson opens the 2019-’20 season on Nov. 5 against Virginia Tech at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson.
–photo courtesy Clemson Athletic Communications