Williams, Rondo spark rout with 17 points each

Updated: August 6, 2005, 6:12 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina -- Point guard. That was the position that caused the most concern for Team USA.

Did they have someone to rely on? Should they look for purely a distributor, a scorer or both?

Did they have a leader?

They cut Darius Washington of Memphis and Aaron Brooks of Oregon, choosing Connecticut's Marcus Williams and Kentucky's Rajon Rondo.

So far, the decision seems to be the right one.

Williams and Rondo scored 17 points each in the United States' 103-83 victory over Lithuania in the FIBA U-21 World Championships on Saturday.

"Both our point guards played great," USA coach Phil Martelli of Saint Joseph's told ESPN.com by phone from Argentina. "Marcus is passing so well and it frees up the other guys. It's contagious."

Rondo had four steals and made 7-of-8 shots off the bench. Temple's Mardy Collins, who is playing off the ball and was one of the last players to make the team, added 14 points. Wake Forest's Justin Gray, who Martelli said played the point for a few possessions, scored 12 points, making four 3-pointers and picking up three steals.

Meanwhile, Duke's J.J. Redick is in a bit of a slump. He was 0-for-4 on 3s.

"He's been struggling in practice, too," Martelli said.

Martelli started Gray, Williams, Connecticut's Rudy Gay (eight points), Charlotte's Curtis Withers (nine points) and Oklahoma's Taj Gray (nine points).

Martelli said Syracuse's Terrence Roberts has been a bit under the weather, playing nine minutes off the bench. The weather has been "extremely cold," according to Martelli. Apparently, the players only have their sweatpants while the coaching staff does have jackets.

"It did break [Saturday] and it was like fall with the sun out," Martelli said. "But it was cold [Friday] and those players are just wearing those warmups."

The U.S. team plays Puerto Rico on Sunday night, a day off Monday, Slovenia on Tuesday and Nigeria on Wednesday before the medal round begins Friday-Sunday.

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