FEBRUARY 2019 FIBA WORLD CUP QUALIFYING
Greensboro, North Carolina • February 22-25, 2019
Although the all-important 2019 FIBA World Cup qualifying spot had already been earned, first place for Group E in the FIBA Americas World Cup Qualifying came down to the final game in window six, and in fact it took a buzzer beater by the USA to earn a one-point win over Argentina and claim the group's top honors with a 10-2 overall record.
FEB. 2019 USA RESULTS (2-0)
2019 FIBA AMERICAS WORLD CUP QUALIFYING FINAL STANDINGS
Opening window six on Feb. 22, 2019, in Greensboro, North Carolina, the USA needed just a few minutes to find its groove before cruising to a record-setting, 111-80 win over Panama.
Closing the game with three straight 3-pointers, Cameron Reynolds set five U.S. Men’s World Cup Qualifying individual records, including points (26), field goals made and attempted (10-17 FGs) and 3-pointers made and attempted (6-11 3pt FGs). Travis Trice also entered his name into the U.S. WCQ record book with 10 assists and four steals. And as a team, the team set USA WCQ records for field goals attempted (81), 3-pointers made and attempted (18-48) and for free throw percentage (.867, 13-15 FTs).
“We just want to play good basketball, to the standard of USA Basketball, what they’ve set,” said head coach Van Gundy. “So, qualified or not, we just want to play well, and I thought Panama played outstanding in the first half, really shot it well. Our defense might have been a little sub-par, and then our depth I thought really showed through in the second half. And, Cam (Cameron Reynolds) had a big, big night, and he’s an outstanding player who has had a dramatic improvement from November until now.”
“Really, I was just open,” Reynolds said of his records. “I mean, my teammates, we did a good job of finding each other, ball movement. We had 27 assists as a team, that’s really unheard of as a team, you know, just coming together. So, they did a really good job of finding me, and it’s just my job to knock them down, take the right shots, not to take any bad ones. So, I feel like the shots that I was getting were the right ones, and I took them.”
The game was a 3-point party in the first quarter, with the USA sinking five as a team, including three from Reynolds, while Panama made six 3s. After trailing 6-2 to start, a 10-run helped the USA lead 22-21 after the first period. The USA again hit five 3-pointers in the second quarter, while Panama cooled off from deep. The USA pushed its lead to eight points twice, before Panama fought back to pull within two points, 48-46, with 1:06 left before halftime. The USA, however, which posted 31 points from eight different scorers in the second period, scored the last five points to go ahead 53-46 at halftime.
The first half highlight seemingly was a dunk from the USA’s 6-foot-2 Josh Adams, who got the crowd onto their feet with his slam midway through the period.
The USA opened the third with another crowd-pleasing dunk – this time Kyle Casey slammed home an assist from Travis Trice.
That ignited the USA, which pushed its lead to as many as 18 points, 78-61, with 41.6 on the clock.
With an 80-64 lead to start the fourth period, the USA increased its lead all the way through the final buzzer, outscoring Panama 31-16 to earn the 111-80 win.
The USA finished with 63 points off of the bench, outrebounded Panama 46-27 and shot 49.4 percent from the field. Panama ended up shooting 48.3 percent from the field.
Facing Argentina three days later on Feb. 25, 2019, and in need of a victory if the USA was to take top honors in Group E, a buzzer-beating jumper from Reggie Hearn lifted the USA past Argentina to a hard-fought 84-83 win.
The USA and Argentina already had qualified for the 2019 FIBA World Cup, and the only thing on the line in the final qualifying game was bragging rights for first place in Group E, which was enough to bring out the best from the both teams.
“Well, the game was a high-level, intense game,” said Van Gundy. “I have so much respect for Argentina. Their program, their depth of quality players and they just play great basketball. It was very fitting that Reggie, who has participated in the most qualifying games for us, was the one to hit the shot. I was very happy for him.
“What I respect about our guys most is that both teams were qualified, both teams could have just gone through the motions and both teams fought with every ounce that they had.”
With the USA trailing by one point, 83-82, and one second on the clock, Travis Trice, who finished with six assists, inbounded the ball to Hearn, who sank a tough shot from the corner to just beat the buzzer and win the game.
“In terms of the shot, I knew that if it was coming my way, I was going to rise up and I felt pretty calm about my ability to put it in,” Hearn said. “I started thinking in my mind about the mechanics of turning and watching the ball go in. So, I tried to visualize it. So, calm going into it … crazy hectic afterwards.”
Michael Frazier II finished with 23 points and a USA World Cup Qualifying record five steals, and Charles Cooke was the only other player to reach double-digit scoring for the USA with 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field.
“Honestly, when coach drew the play up, I was like, 'if Reggie gets the shot, I know it’s going in,'” Frazier said. “There’s no way he’s missing the shot. It’s only right. We call him Captain America. That’s his nickname, so it’s only right for him to end it all the way that he did. And then after, you all saw it, everybody was so excited and so happy, happy for him, happy for us as a ball club. It’s a great feeling when a guy can knock down a shot like that after all the ups and downs in the game. Then to come out on top, there are really no words. It was just an incredible shot by him.”
In the first period, the U.S. defense held Argentina to just 26.7 percent from the field (4-15 FGs) and closed the quarter with a 7-0 run to lead 22-14 after the first 10 minutes.
The USA pushed its advantage to 12 points, 26-14, early in the second period, but Argentina put together a 9-0 run and cut it to 26-23 and then worked its way to within one point, 34-33. The USA closed strong, and riding an 8-2 run, led 42-35 at halftime.
Argentina in the third quarter sank six 3s and not only took its first lead but went ahead 65-59 at the end of the period.
With chants of “defense” and “USA” from the crowd in the fourth quarter, the U.S. battled back from down by nine points with 8:17 remaining to tie the game at 72-72 and 75-75. Argentina sank a 3 and added three points to lead 81-75 with 1:51 to play.
After points from each side, Frazier sank free throws and Trice connected from deep to put the USA within one point, 83-82, with 37.3 remaining. Argentina missed its next shot attempt, and the USA had 15.4 seconds. Adams’ shot rimmed out, but the USA had one last possession after Argentina knocked the rebound out of bounds. With 1.0 second remaining, the USA inbounded to Hearn who sank a tough shot to give the USA the 84-83 win.
FEBRUARY 2019 USA MEN'S WORLD CUP QUALIFYING TEAM ROSTER
|NAME||POS||HGT||WGT||AGE||G LEAGUE TEAM/SCHOOL||HOMETOWN|
|Josh Adams||G||6-2||190||25||Raptors 905/Wyoming
|Kyle Casey||F||6-7||225||28||Memphis Hustle/Harvard
|Chris Chiozza||G||6-0||175||23||Capital City Go-Go/Florida
|Charles Cooke||G||6-5||195||24||Sioux Falls Skyforce/Dayton
|Michael Frazier II||G||6-4||200||24||Rio Grande Valley Vipers/Florida
|Reggie Hearn||G||6-4||209||26||Stockton Kings / Northwestern
||Fort Wayne, IN|
|Tanner McGrew||F||6-8||250||25||Salt Lake City Stars/West Virginia Wesleyan
|Xavier Mumford||G||6-3||190||26||Wisconsin Herd/Rhode Island
|Cameron Reynolds||F||6-8||225||23||Stockton Kings/Tulane||Pearland, TX|
|Travis Trice||G||6-2||177||25||Austin Spurs/Michigan State
||Huber Heights, OH|
|Stephen Zimmerman||C||6-11||240||22||Westchester Knicks/UNLV||Las Vegas, NV|
|Head Coach: Jeff Van Gundy|
|Assistant Coach: Mark Fox|
|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: Othella Harrington|
|Video Coordinator: Luke Stanaland|
FEBRUARY 2019 USA MEN'S WORLD CUP QUALIFYING TEAM CUMULATIVE STATISTICS
|Frazier||2/2||13- 23||.565||6- 12||.500||2- 2||1.000||13/ 6.5||34/ 17.0||5||0||6|
|Reynolds||2/0||11- 20||.550||6- 13||.462||0- 2||.000||6/ 3.0||28/ 14.0||6||0||1|
|Trice||2/1||7- 18||.389||5- 10||.500||3- 3||1.000||2/ 1.0||22/ 11.0||16||0||4|
|Cooke||2/2||8- 14||.571||1- 6||.167||2- 2||1.000||3/ 1.5||19/ 9.5||3||0||1|
|Mumford||2/1||6- 14||.429||1- 3||.333||5- 5||1.000||5/ 2.5||18/ 9.0||1||0||1|
|Adams||2/0||4- 13||.308||1- 7||.143||8- 8||1.000||7/ 3.5||17/ 8.5||6||1||1|
||2/2||7- 9||.778||0- 0||.---||3- 6||.500||11/ 5.5||17/ 8.5||1||1||3|
|Hearn||2/0||5- 12||.417||2- 6||.333||0- 0||.---||3/ 1.5||12/ 6.0||3||0||2|
|Zimmerman||2/0||5- 6||.833||0- 0||.---||2- 3||.667||6/ 3.0||12/ 6.0||1||0||0|
|Casey||2/2||4- 11||.364||1- 4||.250||2- 4||.500||6/ 3.0||11/ 5.5||1||0||0|
|McGrew||2/0||1- 4||.250||1- 2||.500||2- 2||1.000||7/ 3.5||5/ 2.5||1||2||2|
|Chiozza||0/0||0- 0||.---||0- 0||.---||0- 0||.---||0/ 0.0||0/ 0.0||0||0||0|
|USA||2||71-144||.493||24- 63||.381||29- 37||.784||80/40.0||195/ 97.5||44||4||21|
|OPP.||2||54-117||.462||27- 53||.509||28- 35||.800||63/31.5||163/ 81.5||45||8||14|