- Andy Katz, ESPN Senior Writer
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Fresh off a grinding two-point win over host Serbia, the United States was hoping for a physical break of sorts in its World University Games matchup against Bulgaria and got one.
With Bulgaria sitting back in a zone defense, the Americans made 16-of-29 shots from 3-point range in a 96-66 quarterfinal victory at Belgrade Arena on Thursday.
Wisconsin's Bo Ryan, who is coaching the Americans, couldn't have asked for a better game plan from the Bulgarians.
"Our guys did a great job of moving the ball," Ryan said by phone from Belgrade. "We didn't take bad shots. The shooting percentage on 3s reflects that."
Ryan said the ball went into the post quite often before coming back out to the 3-point line.
"Sounds like a European team to me," Ryan said of the Americans' play.
Washington's Quincy Pondexter scored a team-high 15 points. West Virginia's Da'Sean Butler was 4 of 6 on 3-pointers for 12 points, and Oklahoma State's James Anderson and Iowa State's Craig Brackins also scored 12. Penn State's Talor Battle added 11 points.
"We only had one lull in the third period when it was down to 19 and then we pushed it to 30," Ryan said.
The Americans will face Russia in the semifinals Friday after the Russians defeated Lithuania. The other semifinal pits host Serbia against Israel after Serbia beat Turkey and Israel knocked off Germany in the quarterfinal.
The championship game is scheduled for Saturday.
Ryan said he expects the Russians to play 40 minutes of man-to-man defense.
"They don't gamble a lot," Ryan said. "They are very good defensively. We've got to get buckets before their bigs can get back in transition."
Andy Katz is a senior writer for ESPN.com.
4dScott Burnside and Craig Custance