FEBRUARY 2018 FIBA WORLD CUP QUALIFYING
Santa Cruz, California • February 23-26, 2018
Picking up a pair of impressive home wins in window twoin FIBA's World Cup qualifying, the USA defeated Cuba (84-48) and Puerto Rico (83-75) to improve its record to 4-0 and insured the U.S. of advancing to the World Cup Qualifying second round.
FEB. 2018 USA RESULTS (2-0)
The USA earned its third straight World Cup Qualifying victory with an 84-48 win over Cuba in its first game of the second window of FIBA World Cup Qualifying first-round play at Kaiser Permanente Arena in Santa Cruz, California, on Feb. 23, 2018.
The game was a rout from the start, with the USA holding Cuba scoreless for the first 4:40 while building a 15-0 lead. Overall, the U.S. defense held Cuba to just 25.0 percent from the field (16-64 FGs) and forced 19 turnovers, while its offense got 44 points from the bench and recorded 28 fastbreak points.
“We’re happy with the win,” said USA head coach Jeff Van Gundy. “We also know that there is much improvement to be made if we’re to compete against Puerto Rico. But, I was really happy for Xavier (Silas), he played outstanding basketball. In my short time with him, he’s a tremendous pro, gets himself ready to play and it shows.”
Rodney Purvis led the USA in its win over Cuba with 14 points, Xavier Silas added 13, David Stockton scored 10 to go with three assists and Devin Williams tallied eight points and game-highs of 12 rebounds and six assists.
After the USA’s hot start, Cuba sank a free throw for its first point in the game at 5:20 in the first period and then put together a 7-2 stretch to cut the deficit to 19-8. However, Stockton pulled up for a jumper with 2.3 seconds left in the first quarter to give the USA a 21-8 lead at the first break.
The second quarter was the most evenly matched of the game, and the USA increased its lead by just four points after outscoring Cuba 20-16 to lead 41-24 at halftime.
The USA started the second half, much like the first half, and racked up 10 unanswered points in the first 4:11. But, Cuba’s Osmel Oliva his two straight 3s, and Van Gundy called a timeout at 5:09. After the break, the USA closed the third quarter by outscoring Cuba 11-6 to lead 62-36. The USA continued to push through the end of the game, reaching its largest lead of 36 points at the game’s end as Stockton put up two points from the free throw line to end the game 84-48 win.
After leading Puerto Rico by as many as 22 points in the third quarter, the USA found itself defending a one-point lead with 5:44 remaining at Kaiser Permanente Arena in Santa Cruz, California. But, it was the USA that rallied to come out victorious 83-75.
Sinking free throws down the stretch to help seal the win, the USA also was helped by its 42.3 percent shooting from 3-point (11-26 3pt FGs) and a 46-36 rebounding advantage.
The game was hard-fought, with 53 fouls called, and, thanks to its boisterous fans, Puerto Rico, seemed to be playing a home game as the away team.
“I’m very proud of our players,” said Van Gundy. “Obviously, we had a rough second half, but that was due to how good a team Puerto Rico is. We have the utmost respect for their coaches and players and how hard they play, their depth.
“I think what happens is, I think it’s subconscious, but you start to play the score instead of the game,” Van Gundy continued. “You get up 22 and as a player you don’t try to let up, but it only took the end of that third quarter where they went from 17 to 12, and then we throw the ball away on the inbound pass, and now it’s 10. So, we have a lot of missteps that I’m sure if we were going to be together for the rest of the year, we’d learn from. Obviously, we were disappointed with that stretch, but I was even prouder of how we responded down the stretch to make enough big plays, good plays, to finish the game against a team that … we have had two games against them and they both could have gone either way. We win one by seven and one by eight, but it could have gone either way.”
Aaron Harrison led the USA with 16 points; Larry Drew II added 14 points, seven assists and five rebounds; while Rodney Purvis added 12 points. As a team the USA collected 14 steals.
“I thought we played hard, gave a lot of energy and, like coach said, big ups to Puerto Rico,” Drew said. “They’re a great team. They fought their way back into the game, which I knew was probably going to happen at some point. You don’t just bury a team like Puerto Rico, as much pride as they have in their country and everything they’re fighting for and going through. I also want to thank them for bringing out the best in us. I’m glad that we were able to get the win and keep advancing and keep qualifying.”
Seven U.S. scorers put points on the board in the first period to help the USA take a 20-13 lead, and that momentum carried into the second quarter, with the USA increasing its advantage by 10 points to 47-30 at halftime.
Most of the third quarter was much like the first half, but the momentum changed when Puerto Rico’s Gian Clavell, who finished with 23 points, converted on a four-point play with 1:18 left in the quarter. That kicked off a 23-2 run for Puerto Rico that stretched into the fourth quarter, and Puerto Rico trailed by just one point, 68-67, with 5:44 to go.
The next few minutes were back and forth, and Puerto Rico remained within one point before the USA found some breathing room. At 3:50 Purvis slammed home a fastbreak dunk, which was followed by a jumper from Harrison to put the USA ahead 76-71 with 3:05 left. Though Puerto Rico made one free throw next, Williams, Purvis, Stockton and Silas all sank free throws down the stretch to help secure the 83-75 win.
“It was a great game,” Harrison said. “They are a good team, so we knew they were going to make a run. So, we just had to stay mentally tough and figure out how to win. So, that’s what we did.
“I think our will showed up,” Harrison added. “Coach talked about being relentless all 10 days that we were together, so I think we were all definitely relentless at the end of the day. Everyone stepped up and made big plays.”
FEBRUARY 2018 USA MEN'S WORLD CUP QUALIFYING TEAM ROSTER
|NAME||POS||HGT||WGT||AGE||G LEAGUE TEAM/SCHOOL||HOMETOWN|
|Taylor Braun||F||6-7||210||26||Salt Lake City Stars/North Dakota State||Newberg, OR|
|Larry Drew II||G||6-2||180||27||Sioux Falls Skyforce/UCLA||Woodland Hills, CA|
|Alonzo Gee||F||6-6||220||30||Sioux Falls Skyforce/Alabama||Riviera Beach, FL|
|Aaron Harrison||G||6-6||209||23||Reno Bighorns/Kentucky||Richmond, TX|
|Damion Lee||G||6-6||210||25||Santa Cruz Warriors/Louisville||Baltimore, MD|
|Rodney Purvis||G||6-4||205||24||Lakeland Magic/Connecticut/||Plymouth, NC|
|Xavier Silas||F||6-5||198||30||Northern Arizona Suns/Northern Illinois||Austin, TX|
|David Stockton||G||5-11||165||26||Reno Bighorns/Gonzaga||Spokane, WA|
|Rashawn Thomas||F||6-8||230||23||Oklahoma City Blue/Texas A&M-Corpus Christi/||Oklahoma City, OK|
|Travis Wear||F||6-10||229||27||South Bay Lakers/UCLA||Huntington Beach, CA|
|Devin Williams||F||6-9||255||23||Maine Red Claws/West Virginia||Cincinnati, OH|
|Derek Willis||F||6-9||228||22||Grand Rapids Drive /Kentucky||Mount Washington, KY|
|Head Coach: Jeff Van Gundy|
|Assistant Coach: Mo McHone|
|Assistant Coach: John Thompson II|
|Team Physician: Stephen Foley, Sanford Health (Sioux Falls, SD)|
|Athletic Trainer: Ed Lacerte, ProSports Therapy, Inc. (Waltham and Westford, MA)|
|Team Scout: Ken McDonald|
|Video Coordinator: Brad Jones|
FEBRUARY 2018 USA MEN'S WORLD CUP QUALIFYING TEAM CUMULATIVE STATISTICS
|Purvis||2/0||10- 20||.500||3- 8||.375||3- 7||.428||2/1.0||26/13.0||2||0||1|
|Harrison||2/2||9- 20||.450||5- 11||.455||2- 2||1.000||5/2.5||25/12.5||3||0||0|
|Silas||2/2||7- 18||.389||5- 10||.500||3- 3||1.000||7/3.5||22/11.0||4||0||1|
|Drew||2/2||8- 14||.571||2- 6||.333||3- 4||.750||7/3.5||21/10.5||11||0||1|
|Stockton||2/0||4- 12||.333||2- 3||.667||7- 8||.875||5/2.5||17/8.5||7||0||3|
|Thomas||2/0||3- 7||.429||0- 0||.---||8- 12||.667||11/5.5||14/7.0||2||0||1|
|Williams||2/2||4- 15||.267||0- 2||.000||4- 4||1.000||23/11.5||12/6.0||7||0||1|
|Wear||2/1||3- 12||.250||0- 6||.000||2- 4||.500||13/6.5||8/4.0||1||0||2|
|Braun||2/0||4- 5||.800||0- 0||.---||0- 0||.---||1/0.5||8/4.0||1||0||1|
|Lee||2/1||1- 8||.125||0- 5||.000||5- 8||.625||4/2.0||7/3.5||4||0||0|
|Gee||2/0||2- 2||1.000||0- 0||.---||1- 2||.500||5/2.5||5/2.5||1||0||0|
|Willis||1/0||1- 4||.250||0- 2||.000||0- 0||.---||2/2.0||2/1.0||0||1||1|
|USA||2||56-137||.409||17- 53||.321||38- 54||.704||100/50.0||167/83.5||43||1||12|
|OPP.||2||43-131||.328||9- 47||.191||28- 36||.777||78/39.0||123/61.5||30||7||11|