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U.S. romps to record victory in men's hoops

LONDON — 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 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," 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.

Tennis

Roger Federer beat American John Isner 6-4, 7-6 (5) and will play No. 8-seeded Juan Martin del Potro in the semifinals.

Serena Williams, another reigning Wimbledon champion who is seeking her first Olympic singles medal, advanced by beating former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 6-0, 6-3. Williams' opponent in the semifinals today will be top-seeded Victoria Azarenka, who beat Angelique Kerber 6-4, 7-5.

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.

Cycling

Germany's Miriam Welte and Kristina 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.

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.

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.

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.