RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The U.S. Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Team came out fast and crisp against Algeria to keep its record perfect for the Monday’s final game in Paralympic Games’ pool play against Great Britain at 2:45 p.m. Eastern. The United States dominated Algeria in Sunday’s game with a first quarter lead of 27-4, en route to a final of 92-24.
Three-time Paralympian Josh Turek of Council Bluffs, Iowa, paced the U.S. squad with 8 of his 16 points coming in the first quarter, that also had six other players find the bottom of the basket. The second quarter saw a variety of line-up changes and a total of 10 of the 12 rostered athletes scoring for a 49-10 lead.
“What Ron (Lykins) has preached to us and we have bought in is that we have to stay focused on the moment and not get distracted by looking forward,” said Turek. “It’s important that we came out tonight to stay sharp, focused and ready to go tomorrow against Great Britain.”
The second half continued with the U.S. Team slowing the pace with a variety of players contributing for the win over Algeria, 92-24.
Leading the U.S. in scoring was Jake Williams of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with 17 points, and two-time U.S. Paralympian Nate Hinze of Cedar Grove, Wisconsin, adding 12 more points. As a team, the United States finished shooting 58 percent from the floor, out rebounding Algeria, 41-22, and forcing 30 turnovers.
“I thought the guys played well this evening and under control and I wanted to make sure that we did not fall into any bad habits,” said U.S. Men’s Head Coach Ron Lykins of Columbia, Missouri. “The way we played tonight should give everyone plenty of time on the court so we should be ready to roll against Great Britain tomorrow.”
The United States and Algeria have never played each other at the Paralympic Games. This is now the 25th country the United States has played in Paralympic competition.
The United States will face Great Britain on Monday, September 12 at 2:45 p.m. Eastern, and will close out pool play with the game. Both countries have played each other a total of 13 times in the Paralympics, and the United States holds a 10-3 advantage. Monday’s game will determine the top ranking of the pool as both are undefeated in pool play games with identical records of 4-0. The United States won the last time these two collided in 2012, 61-46. Overall, Team USA is 74-15 in Paralympic Games competition.
The U.S. Men’s Team opened the Rio Games by defeating host country Brazil, 75-38. The U.S. men’s team qualified for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games by winning the 2015 Parapan Am Games in Toronto, Canada. The U.S. men outscored the competition by 36 points per game.
Also joining Lykins on the sidelines will be assistant coaches Robb Taylor of Auburn, Alabama, and John Sikora of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Scott Meyer of Columbia, Missouri, will serve as the Team Leader, with Mary Vacala of Savannah, Georgia, filling the athletic trainer position. Also assisting in preparations are strength coach Michael Cohen of Savannah, Georgia, and team psychologist Dr. Roberta Kraus of Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The U.S. men’s team finished with a bronze medal at the London 2012 Paralympics and look to improve in Rio de Janeiro. The men’s team finished seventh in 2004 and fourth in 2008, following bronze-medal performances in 2000 and 1996.
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
September 7-17, 2016
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Wheelchair Basketball Results
USA def. Brazil, 75-38
USA def. Germany, 77-25
USA def. Islamic Republic of Iran, 93-44
USA def. Algeria, 92-24
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games U.S. Wheelchair Basketball Record – 4-0