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4 Stephen CURRY (USA)
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Curry: Defense helping us carry the tempo

BARCELONA (FIBA Basketball World Cup) - Stephen Curry's leadership qualities as one of the more experienced players in FIBA competitions for the USA, were not in doubt coming into the FIBA Basketball World Cup.

It was just a case of Mexico bearing the brunt of it on the statsheet in the Round of 16 game on Saturday.

The Golden State Warriors point guard was at his prolific best returning a personal tournament-high, but spoke about the "defense keeping the team going."

"We came out better in the first five minutes with a lot of energy. Our defense is the thing that's keeping us going, to put pressure on our opponents and take away their offenses," said one of the three current USA team members crowned world champions in Turkey in 2010.

We were able to force the tempo and carry it over for the rest of the game. - Curry

USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski was also pleased with the way the team played.

"Overall I was pleased with our game, because it was the sixth in eight days," he said.

"We continued to play good defense. Until the last few minutes when they threw in two-three quick threes. Our defense on the three was terrific."

Meanwhile, Mexico's star big man Gustavo Ayon reflected on having his best scoring effort of the tournament (25 points) against the mighty USA.

"I'm happy coming off this performance against the best team in the competition," said the free agent player who is undecided on his future professional club yet.

"I need to first rest. I don't want to discuss where (which club) I'll go to.

"It was a great experience to play here. I think our target was to enter the Round of 16. And we achieved that.

"The point is that we knew even before the event began, any team in this round will be a very tough challenge. We are well aware of our status," he added.

"This was an opportunity for us to pick some lessons on how to move the next level. On that account, I am very satisfied."

Krzyzewski praised the big man for his performance on the day.

"I thought Ayon was terrific today. It was an honor to compete against him," he said.

The USA will face the winners of the Slovenia-Dominican Republic game.