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USA handles New Zealand, improves to 3-0 in World Cup

Team USA bounced back nicely from a difficult game with Turkey and breezed to a victory over New Zealand 98-71 in Bilbao, Spain, on Sept. 2.

It took nearly a quarter and half but the U.S., who never trailed in the contest, finally pulled away from the Tall Blacks (0-3). Stephen Curry opened up the scoring for the U.S. with a triple, 40 seconds into the game. After former Wisconsin Badger Kirk Penney hit a jumper to get New Zealand on the board, the Americans went on a mini-5-0 run to push its lead to 7-2 at the 7:14 mark.

About five minutes later, the U.S. extended its lead to 22-10 on another Curry three-pointer. New Zealand closed the quarter on a 10-5 run to cut the U.S. lead to 27-20.

New Zealand stayed within striking distance in the early going of the second quarter. Corey Webster knocked down a three-pointer to bring New Zealand within 38-29 with 6:31 left in the quarter. But that is when the U.S. took control of the game. Kyrie Irving started a 12-0 run with a traditional three-point play following a layup to put the red, white and blue up 50-29. Penney finally stopped the Tall Blacks 2:37 scoreless drought with a jumper to make it 50-31. The U.S. led 57-35 at halftime.

The U.S. extended its lead to 69-39 with 6:10 left in the third quarter and cruised the rest of the way. The Americans got a little sloppy and allowed New Zealand to keep the outcome within 30 points.

Anthony Davis led six U.S. players in double-figures with 19 points. He was 7-of-13 from the field and grabbed nine rebounds. Kenneth Faried (15 points and 11 rebounds), James Hard (13 points), Curry (12), Klay Thompson (12) and Derrick Rose (10) were the others in double figures.

B.J. Anthony led New Zealand with 11 points. University of Hawaii junior Isaac Fotu added eight points.

The U.S. (3-0) will meet the Dominican Republic (1-1) and New Zealand will take on Ukraine (2-1) on Sept. 3.