NOVEMBER 2017 FIBA WORLD CUP QUALIFYING
Orlando, Florida and Greensboro, North Carolina • November 24-26, 2017
Opening the first window of competition of the 2017-19 FIBA World Cup Qualifying, the Americans posted a pair of impressive victories, edging Puerto Rico 85-77 and man-handling Mexico 91-55.
NOV. 2017 USA RESULTS (2-0)
Featuring a roster consisting primarily of NBA G League players, the USA looked to several returning 2017 AmeriCup gold medalists and earned its first World Cup Qualifying win after recording an 85-78 victory over Puerto Rico in the two teams opening game of FIBA World Cup Qualifying first-round play at the University of Central Florida’s CFE Arena in Orlando.
Played on Thanksgiving Day, in the win, the USA received a double-double of 17 points and a game-high 11 rebounds from 2017 AmeriCup MVP Jameel Warney and 17 points and eight rebounds from USA AmeriCup gold medalist Reggie Hearn.
“I was really proud of our guys. For those of our players that have played in a FIBA game, I think (they) knew what to expect, but those that had not played in a FIBA game, it was harder for them initially to adapt and adjust,” said USA head coach Jeff Van Gundy. “We got hit with haymakers early, and I was really proud of our guys. We played well down the stretch and we made big time plays.”
Puerto Rico came out firing and nailed six 3-pointers in the game’s first 7:12 to grab control 18-10. USA center Travis Wear scored five consecutive points and Warney scored off of an offensive rebound to help reduce the deficit, and after the first 10 minutes the USA trailed 23-17.
Puerto Rico continued to counter each U.S. rally and with 4:03 left in the second quarter, Puerto Rico led 33-29. Behind five points from Xavier Munford, another AmeriCup returner, the USA outscored Puerto Rico 9-2 to take its first lead, 38-35. However, the lead was short lived as Puerto Rico scored the first half’s final four points to take a 39-38 lead at halftime.
“We let them off the hook in the first half by giving them easy shots, letting them on the glass and out on the break,” said Warney. “We stopped turning the ball over and started getting rebounds. We started playing our game and that’s what happened in the second half.”
The teams traded baskets in the third quarter and Puerto Rico pushed its advantage to 57-51 with 2:51 left in the third quarter.
Getting six points from Munford, the U.S. ripped off 10 straight points to regain the lead 61-57 with 50 seconds left in the third.
The U.S. took a 61-58 lead into the game’s final 10 minutes, but Puerto Rico battled back to even the score 63-63.
The U.S. finally managed to create some breathing space as Semaj Christon and Munford each scored five points in a 10-2 USA run that lifted the red, white and blue to a 73-65 lead with 5:21 left in the game.
Puerto Rico never again got closer than four points as the USA held-off Puerto Rico for the 85-78 win.
In addition to Hearn and Warney scoring 17 each, the USA was aided by Munford’s 12 points and Markel Brown added 10 points.
The USA bench outscored Puerto Rico’s bench 49-28, and the USA dominated the glass and outrebounded Puerto Rico 44-26, including 17 offensive boards.
The USA shot 49.2 percent from the field and made 10-of-21 3-pointers. Puerto Rico made 45.2 percent from the floor and shot 12-of-25 from 3.
Starting the game with six-straight 3-pointers, the USA relied on a balanced scoring attack to defeat Mexico 91-55 on Nov. 26, 2017, at the Greensboro Coliseum Fieldhouse. Four U.S. players finished with 14 points each, including Brown, Jonathan Holmes, Munford and Wear, who added 10 rebounds to finish with a double-double.
“I was very, very proud of our team,” remarked Van Gundy. “Nine days together, they worked hard. It’s really hard to put a group together that quickly unless players are selfless, and we had a bunch of selfless guys who sacrificed not only their time, but participating in the G League, to represent their country. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
The USA shot a solid 50.8 percent (33-65 FGs) from the field, but it was even better from 3-point, where it was 54.2 percent (13-24 3pt FGs).
Despite having a short training window in which to develop team chemistry, the USA also tallied 21 assists, including seven from Donald Sloan.
The U.S. offense was not the only highlight, however. It’s defense also was impressive, limiting Mexico to 31.1 percent (19-61 FGs) from the field and converting 18 turnovers into 21 points.
“We came out and executed our game plan,” Wear said. “We hit them first right off the bat. We let them go on a little run at the end of the (first) half. But, we came back and executed down the stretch and got it done.”
Overall in the first period, the USA sank seven 3-pointers, highlighted by 3-of-3 shooting from beyond the arc by Holmes, and the U.S. ended the quarter with a 25-12 lead.
After the USA pushed its advantage to 32-15 just 3:20 into the second period, Mexico fought back with a 12-0 run that closed the gap to just five points 32-27.
Despite outscoring the USA 17-15 in the quarter, that was as close as Mexico would get for the remainder of the game.
An offensive rebound and score from Warney ended Mexico’s run, and the USA closed the first half by outscoring it opponent 8-2 to lead 40-29 at halftime.
The second half began with a fast break score by Brown off an assist from Sloan, and the USA was on its way to a 32-point third quarter, while allowing Mexico just 18 points to lead 72-47 after three periods.
“I think we played great collectively as a group,” Brown said. “Everybody came out there and played their part well, whether rebounding the ball, playing defense, passing it or scoring it.”
The USA reached its largest lead of the game, 39 points, when local favorite and University of North Carolina alumni Meeks made two free throws with 57.2 seconds remaining in the game. Mexico tallied just eight points to the USA’s 19 in the fourth, and Sloan dribbled out the clock on the USA’s final possession for a 91-55 win.
Larry Drew II missed his second-straight game due to a strained right hamstring, while Hearn was limited to 13 minutes after suffering a sprained right ankle during the second quarter.
NOVEMBER 2017 USA MEN'S WORLD CUP QUALIFYING TEAM ROSTER
|NAME||POS||HGT||WGT||AGE||G LEAGUE TEAM/SCHOOL||HOMETOWN|
|Markel Brown||G||6-3||185||25||Oklahoma City Blue/Oklahoma State||Alexandria, LA|
|Semaj Christon||G||6-3||190||25||Free Agent/Xavier||Cincinnati, OH|
|Larry Drew II||G||6-2||180||27||Sioux Falls Skyforce/UCLA||Woodland Hills, CA|
|Reggie Hearn||G||6-4||209||26||Reno Bighorns/Northwestern||Fort Wayne, IN|
|Jonathan Holmes||F||6-9||242||24||Maine Red Claws/Texas||San Antonio, TX|
|Amile Jefferson||F||6-9||222||24||Iowa Wolves/Duke||Philadelphia, PA|
|Kennedy Meeks||C||6-10||263||22||Raptors 905/North Carolina||Charlotte, NC|
|Elijah Millsap||F||6-6||225||30||Iowa Wolves/Louisiana–Lafayette||Grambling, LA|
|Xavier Mumford||G||6-3||190||25||Wisconsin Herd/Rhode Island||Newark, NJ|
|Donald Sloan||G||6-3||205||29||Texas Legends /Texas A&M||Dallas, TX|
|Jameel Warney||C||6-7||259||23||Texas Legends/Stony Brook||Plainfield, NJ|
|Travis Wear||F||6-10||229||27||South Bay Lakers/UCLA||Long Beach, CA|
|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|
NOVEMBER 2017 USA MEN'S WORLD CUP QUALIFYING TEAM CUMULATIVE STATISTICS
|Mumford||2/0||10- 19||.526||4- 10||.400||2- 2||1.000||7/ 3.5||26/13.0||6||1||3|
|Brown||2/2||8- 17||.471||6- 9||.667||2- 2||1.000||6/ 3.0||24/12.0||5||1||1|
|Warney||2/0||11- 19||.579||0- 0||.---||1- 1||1.000||16/ 8.0||23/11.5||1||1||1|
|Hearn||2/2||8- 14||.571||5- 7||.714||2- 4||.500||12/ 6.0||23/11.5||2||0||0|
|Wear||2/0||9- 15||.600||2- 5||.400||1- 2||.500||14/ 7.0||21/10.5||3||0||1|
|Holmes||2/2||5- 7||.714||3- 5||.600||1- 2||.500||5/ 2.5||14/ 7.0||2||0||0|
|Christon||2/0||4- 9||.444||2- 2||1.000||3- 3||1.000||2/ 1.0||13/ 6.5||5||0||2|
|Millsap||2/0||2- 7||.286||0- 2||.000||6- 9||.667||8/ 4.0||10/ 5.0||3||0||2|
|Sloan||2/2||3- 13||.231||1- 4||.250||2- 2||1.000||6/ 3.0||9/ 4.5||9||0||0|
|Jefferson||2/1||4- 7||.571||0- 0||.---||1- 2||.500||8/ 4.0||9/ 4.5||1||1||1|
|Meeks||2/1||1- 3||.333||0- 1||.000||2- 2||1.000||0/ 0.0||4/ 2.0||0||0||0|
|Drew||0/0||0- 0||.---||0- 0||.---||0- 0||.---||0/ 0.0||0/ 0.0||0||0||0|
|USA||2||65-130||.500||23- 45||.511||23- 31||.742||87/43.5||176/88.0||37||4||11|
|OPP.||2||47-123||.382||19- 59||.322||20- 30||.667||62/31.0||133/66.5||32||7||14|