2008 PARALYMPIC GAMES: U.S. Men's Wheelchair Basketball Team Crushes China, 97-38, in Preliminary Round ActionBEIJING, China - Players on the U.S. Men's Wheelchair Basketball Team will tell you they weren't sending anyone a message. They weren't making any kind of statement. But, like it or not, a crushing 49-point defeat of host country China sends a message. And it makes a statement. The U.S. team was looking to rebound from a shocking loss on Tuesday night to an under-manned Great Britain team and did so with a 97-38 victory over the Chinese.
"Losing that game to Great Britain was definitely not part of our game plan," said Matt Scott (Whitewater, Wis./Detroit, Mich.). "So, we wanted to come out against China, focus up, and do what we knew we were capable of doing. We're 17 strong, that's a big saying we have in the locker room. The only message we were trying to send was to ourselves - to know we can go out there and be the best basketball team we can be. We don't really care what anybody else thinks."
The Chinese national team is brand new on the international scene, having never played in a Paralympic Games or World Championships. So, the experience, speed and depth of the U.S. team were just too much for the hosts to contend with for 40 minutes of play.
"It felt good to get out here and do the things we know we can do," said Eric Barber (Whitewater, Wis./Chicago, Ill.). "It was a good day for us and the best thing about our performance today was that everybody contributed and had a chance to showcase their skills."
The team's 97 points came on 61 percent shooting, nearly double the team's shooting percentage from the previous game. Four U.S. players scored in double digits: Jeff Glasbrenner (Little Rock, Ark.) led the way with 16 points (6-6 FG and 4-4 FT), Paul Schulte (Bradenton, Fla./Manchester, Mich.) scored 15, Scott added 14 and Jay Nelms (Ft. Worth, Texas/Detroit, Mich.) put up 11.
The U.S. finishes pool play with a tough match-up against Australia on Thursday, Sept. 11, at 8:45 p.m. at National Indoor Stadium.
For more information, or to arrange an athlete interview, please contact Susan Katz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 139-1075-4845 (Dial 011-86 plus the local number if calling from the U.S.).