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2012 SUMMER OLYMPICS --- DAY 6 ROUNDUP: U.S. men’s hoops routs Nigeria, 156-73, breaks scoring records

Carmelo Anthony scored 37 points to set the American Olympic mark for points in a game — in less than three quarters. He made 10 of 12 3-point attempts.

Carmelo Anthony scored 37 points to set the American Olympic mark for points in a game — in less than three quarters. He made 10 of 12 3-point attempts.

LONDON — Two of the key things to know about Thursday, Day 6 of the London Olympics:

1) Anthony keys record-setting performance for US hoops.

2) Probe into Olympic badminton flap widens.

The last group in England with this many records was The Beatles.

The U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team beat Nigeria 156-73 Thursday night, an epic blowout that answered the Americans’ detractors and sent a clear message to let them be.

After two opening routs that provoked criticism of their slow starts and outside shooting, the Americans rewrote the record books.

They led by 26 in the first quarter, had an Olympic-record 78 points in the first half and Carmelo Anthony scored 37 points, including 10 of 12 3-pointers, to break the U.S. single-game scoring record in less than three quarters.

“Our guys just couldn’t miss,” said coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Incredibly, they eclipsed the 100-point mark with 5 minutes still left in the third.

“When we get hot, it’s a big problem,” Kobe Bryant said. “So you have all these guys on one team and then all get hot on the same night, it’s tough.”

They broke the Olympic record for most points in a game with 4:37 still to play, and set U.S. records for 3-pointers (26), field goals (59) and field-goal percentage (71).

When Andre Iguodala hit a 3-pointer with 4:37 left, the Americans had surpassed the previous Olympic record of 138 points set by Brazil against Egypt in 1988. When the record was announced to the mesmerized crowd, all the players seated on the U.S. bench got up and walked single file past Krzyzewski, slapping hands with him and his staff.

Gentlemen, take a bow.

“It was just one of them nights where as a unit we had it going,” Anthony said. “It could have been anybody out on the court playing against us.”

The Americans even one-upped the 1992 Dream Team. The 83-point margin of victory was the largest in U.S. national team history, eclipsing the 79-point spread when Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Co. beat Cuba 136-57 in their first game.

The U.S. seemed intent on breaking Nigeria’s spirit, and when that was accomplished with ease, the Americans made a profound statement with their marksmanship.

Nigeria was the first to get the message.

“When they shoot like this, I don’t know if there is any team that can beat them,” said Ike Diogu, one of the Nigerians who promised not to be intimidated by the Americans.

Bryant scored 16 points — 14 in the first quarter — for the Americans, who scored 49 points in the first, left the floor leading 78-45 at half and then doubled their total in the second half.

Russell Westbrook finished with 21 points, Kevin Love 15 and Kevin Durant 14 for the U.S., which will play Lithuania on Saturday. The Americans have won their first three games with ease, but now things are expected to get a lot tougher as they approach next week’s medal round.

Diogu scored 27 to lead Nigeria (1-2), which was as good as done after Durant hit a 3-pointer 11 seconds in, snapping an 0-for-14 slump by the U.S. in the first quarter in the tourney.

Bryant was mostly a non-factor in wins over France and Tunisia, playing just 21 minutes and getting into early foul trouble. But from the outset against Nigeria, the two-time Olympian nicknamed the Black Mamba was as deadly as ever. He set the tone by scoring seven quick points as the U.S. (3-0) raced to a 13-0 lead, a haymaker that stunned the Nigerians.

Durant buried three 3-pointers, Bryant and Anthony added two from long-range and when Love, the NBA’s 3-point champion, came off the bench and knocked down his first 3, the U.S. team’s shooting gallery of stars had opened a 41-15 lead and made the p.a. announcer’s pregame comment that “anything is possible” seem prophetic.

He was talking about a possible upset. The only surprise in the first quarter was when the U.S. missed.

“We were looking forward to this game, playing against the U.S.,” Diogu said. “You know we wanted to use this to show the world what type of team we are. We just came out flat, turned the ball over too many times and they made us pay every time.”

After starting so sluggishly in blowout wins over France and Tunisia, the U.S. came flying out of the gates, led by Bryant.

The Americans seemed intent on breaking Nigeria’s spirit, and when that was accomplished with ease, they made a profound statement with their marksmanship.

Nigeria was the first to get the message.

“When they shoot like this, I don’t know if there is any team that can beat them,” Diogu said.

Anthony, who made five 3-pointers in the first half, put on a shooting clinic in the third quarter. With the U.S. bench standing in anticipation every time he touched the ball on the perimeter, Anthony made all five of his attempts, punctuating one that made it 97-54 by throwing back his head, laughing and shrugging his shoulders.

He was in a zone unlike any seen before.

“It’s a great accomplishment to get that record,” said Anthony, who broke Stephon Marbury’s scoring mark of 31 against Spain in 2004. “We did it in a very highly classy way. We went out there and we played basketball. We made shots. We make shots like that and play the way we played tonight, that record could have came on any team.”

Anthony wasn’t the lone sniper as the Americans made 29 of 46 3-pointers (63 percent), numbers that could stand for several more Olympiads.

Although an Olympic rookie, Nigeria, with 10 players who played college ball in the U.S., also has its share of pro experience.

Diogu, who was born in Buffalo, N.Y., after his parents emigrated from Africa, has played for eight NBA teams and Al-Farouq, the No. 8 overall pick in the 2010 draft, was traded last year by the Los Angeles Clippers to New Orleans in the deal for U.S. guard Chris Paul.

But there isn’t a team in the Olympics that can match the American’s celebrated roster with a combined 43 All-Star appearances, seven NBA titles and four league MVPs.

Krzyzewski gave his players the day off on Wednesday, a chance to relax and enjoy the games. Anthony and James Harden went to see boxing. Durant watched beach volleyball.

They came back rested.

And on target.


VOLLEYBALL

Captain Clay Stanley scored 19 points and the U.S. men’s team defeated Brazil 3-1 in a preliminary-round rematch of the Beijing final.

The 23-25, 27-25, 25-19, 25-17 victory extends the United States’ Olympic winning streak to 11 matches.

Leandro Vissotto Neves had 15 points for No. 1 Brazil.

Poland, Russia, Bulgaria and Italy each won in straight sets. Former NBA center Vlade Divac was on hand to cheer Serbia, which fell 3-2 to Germany.

CYCLING

Germany’s Miriam Welte and Kristina Vogel checked a computer screen several times before erupting in laughter.

Yup, Olympic champions.

Welte and Vogel won the gold in sprint track cycling after the Chinese duo of Guo Shuang and Gong Jinjie was disqualified for a lane change in the final.

The Chinese pair had finished a victory lap and was celebrating when the announcement was made.

Britain broke its own world record set earlier in the day to win its second straight gold medal in the men’s team sprint. The team of Philip Hindes, Jason Kenny and Chris Hoy posted a time of 42.600 seconds, bettering the mark of 42.747 they had set in the previous round.

BEACH VOLLEYBALL

All four American teams — two in the men’s tournament and two in the women’s — finished the round-robin atop their pools, with defending gold medalists Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser beating the Czech Republic in the finale.

Defending world champions Emanuel and Alison of Brazil struggled through an extended first set to beat Italy and win their group. The Brazilians beat Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo 26-24, 21-18.

Americans Jennifer Kessy and April Ross finished 3-0 with a 21-19, 19-21, 19-17 victory over Spain. Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor finished their pool play with a No. 1 seed on Wednesday, as did Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal.

WATER POLO

Tony Azevedo scored four goals and the U.S. men’s team beat Britain 13-7 to remain undefeated at the London Games.

The Americans are on top of Group B with six points, one ahead of gold medal-favorite Serbia, with two preliminary stage matches to go.

Serbia played to an 11-11 draw with Montenegro. The Serbs face the U.S. on Saturday.

Spain, Greece, Hungary and Croatia all won.

BOXING

U.S. boxers are dropping out of the Olympic tournament at a rapid rate.

The American skid reached seven straight bouts with narrow defeats for lightweight Jose Ramirez and middleweight Terrell Gausha. Only welterweight Errol Spence and flyweight Rau’shee Warren — who hasn’t fought yet — are still alive.

Ramirez started slowly and never caught up in a 15-11 loss to Uzbekistan’s Fazliddin Gaibnazarov, while Gausha was locked in a tight one with Beijing bronze medalist Vijender Singh of India before dropping a 16-15 decision.

Ukraine’s Vasyl Lomachenko opened his second Olympics in the same dominant style that made him the best boxer in Beijing, overwhelming Dominican lightweight Wellington Arias in a 15-3 victory.

ROWING

The United States defended its title in the women’s eight, maintaining its six-year dominance of the high-profile event.

The Americans won in a time of 6 minutes, 10.59 seconds. Canada finished a half-length behind in second and the Netherlands took the bronze.

The U.S. hasn’t lost a competitive race in the eight since winning the world title in 2006.

New Zealand picked up its first gold of the London Games when Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan won the double sculls final at Dorney Lake. Italy and Slovenia grabbed the next two spots on the podium.

South Africa captured its first Olympic rowing gold when its closing charge was enough to take the lightweight men’s four. Britain edged Denmark for silver.

SAILING

British star Ben Ainslie finally stuck his stern in front of Denmark’s Jonas Hoegh-Christensen to boost his bid for sailing history.

Ainslie got his first victory at the London Olympics in Race 7 in the Finn class in strong winds and big seas on the English Channel. He followed it up by passing Hoegh-Christensen just before the finish in Race 8 to take third.

Ainslie sliced Hoegh-Christensen’s lead from 10 points to three with two races to go before the medals race.

Defending Star gold medalists Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson went 1-2 to strengthen their lead over Brazil’s Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada, who went 3-5. The British lead with 13 points while the Brazilians have 22.

Britain’s 49er crew of Stephen Morrison and Ben Rhodes won both races to jump into silver medal position.

CANOE

Britain took the top two spots in canoe slalom, upsetting the three-time defending champions from Slovakia.

Tim Baillie and Etienne Stott won the gold, followed by teammates David Florence and Richard Hounslow.

Slovakian twins Pavol and Peter Hochschorner settled for bronze. It was a stunning defeat for the Hochschorners, who have also won the last three world championships and are ranked No. 1.

Emilie Fer of France was the surprise winner in women’s kayak slalom. Australia’s Jessica Fox took the silver, and the bronze went to Spain’s Maialen Chourraut.

HANDBALL

Ivan Cupic scored seven goals and Croatia beat Hungary 26-19 to reach the quarterfinals.

Croatia leads Group B with the maximum six points, two clear of Spain and Denmark, which edged Serbia 26-25. Croatia beat Hungary 26-19.

Daniel Narcisse had seven goals to help France qualify for the knockout stage by defeating Tunisia 25-19, and Argentina beat host Britain 32-21 for its first win of the tournament.

Spain also won, edging South Korea 33-29, and Iceland topped Sweden 33-32.

ELSEWHERE IN LONDON

One day after upsetting Argentina at the Olympics, the U.S. women’s field hockey team lost 1-0 to Australia. … It was all China in men’s table tennis, with Zhang Jike beating teammate Wang Hao 4-1 in the singles final. China has claimed 22 of 26 gold medals since pingpong was introduced at the Olympics in 1988. … Ki Bo-bae added the individual archery title to the women’s team gold she won with South Korea. Ki edged Aida Roman of Mexico in a sudden-death shoot-off to claim the top singles spot. … British shooter Peter Wilson won the double trap gold. Hakan Dahlby of Sweden grabbed the silver, and Vasily Mosin of Russia was awarded the bronze. … Kim Jiyeon of South Korea grabbed the fencing gold for women’s individual sabre. … Archrivals and friends Lin Dan of China and Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia each won to move closer to the men’s singles final in badminton.