Game Preview: USA-Dominican Republic
USA vs. Dominican Republic
3:30 p.m. EDT, ESPN2
Winners in their first three preliminary round games of the 2014 FIBA World Cup and owners of a 57 game win streak that dates back to the 2006 World Championship bronze medal game, the USA will attempt to extend its winning ways Wednesday (3:30 p.m. EDT) when it faces the Dominican Republic in the fourth of its five preliminary round games. ESPN2 will broadcast live the USA-Dominican Republic game.
Familiar opponents, the USA and Dominican Republic met as recently as Aug. 20 in an exhibition game played at Madison Square Garden in New York. The U.S. was impressive in the lopsided 105-62 victory, as DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay finished as high scorers with 13 points each. Kyrie Irving and James Harden each netted 12 points, and Andre Drummond also scored 12 points and ripped down five rebounds. High scorers for the Dominican Republic were James Feldeine and Houston Rockets forward Francisco Garcia with 14 each.
Out to a 2-1 win-loss record at the 2014 World Cup, Dominican Republic guard Garcia, who starred at the University of Louisville, is scoring at a 21.0 points per game clip and adding 4.3 rebounds. Back court teammate Feldeine, who played collegiately at Quinnipiac University, is contributing 9.7 points, while former Kentucky Wildcat forward Eloy Vargas, and forward Eulis Baez, who completed his collegiate career at Western Illinois, are each grabbing 9.0 rebounds a game and adding 8.0 points a game.
Recently named University of South Florida head coach Orlando Antigua, a former John Calipari assistant coach at Kentucky and Memphis, directs the Dominican team.
The Dominicans have not participated in a FIBA World Cup since 1978 when they finished 2-5 and in 12th place. Among their five losses was a 104-65 setback to the United States.
When asked about the USA’s opponent Dominican Republic, USA mentor Mike Krzyzewski said, “Well (Francisco) Garcia has played lights out here and seems to have found his rhythm and has been a real leader for them. I think they are playing much better then when we played them before because they are comfortable with one-another and they’ve won here. So we can’t look at them like they were, we have to look at them as they are right now.
“The key for us all the time is defense and giving energy and we did that against New Zealand and if we do that against Dominican Republic good things happen. It just starts with their energy and defense and those have been things we have done most of the time except for one half.”
After recording wins in its first three games, Anthony Davis, who is averaging 19.0 ppg. and 6.3 rpg. in just over 20 minutes of action a game, leads the USA statistically. Also averaging double-digit scoring are Kenneth Faried, 14.3 ppg. and a team leading 8.3 rpg.; Klay Thompson, 12.0 ppg; James Harden, 12.0 ppg. and a team best 4.7 apg.; and Kyrie Irving, 10.7 ppg. and 3.7 apg.
As a team, the U.S. is averaging 103.3 points game, shooting 54.4 percent from the field, 35.7 percent from 3-point and 71.8 percent from the foul line. Defensively, the USA is holding it’s opponents to just 67.7 points a game, 37.8 percent shooting from the floor, 30.6 percent from 3-point, and is forcing opponents into 27.0 turnovers a game.
The USA remains in sole possession of first place of the World Cup Group C standings at 3-0, while the Dominican Republic and Ukraine are both 2-1, Finland, and Turkey are tied for fourth with identical 1-2 records, and New Zealand is winless and in sixth place.
Group A leader Spain, Group B first place Greece and Group D top dog Slovenia are also undefeated and 3-0. For the current World Cup standings, click here.
Since the first World Championship in 1950, the USA has won 11 medals – four gold medals, three silver medals and four bronze medals – while compiling an all-time 117-27 win-loss record.
Just the Facts: Dominican Republic
FIBA World Ranking: #26
How Dominican Republic Qualified: FIBA Americas 4th place (6-4)
World Cup Appearances: 1
World Cup Overall Record: 2-5 (.286%)
World Cup Finishes: 12th (1978)
World Cup Record vs. USA: 0-1 (65-104, 1978)
Last Senior Team Meeting vs. USA: 2014 MNT Tour (62-105)
2012 Olympic Finish: DNP
2013 Head Coach: Orlando Antigua
2013 Key Players In FIBA Americas Championship: James Feldeine (14.0 ppg., 3.0 rpg., 2.2 apg.), Jack Martinez (12.0 ppg., 9.4 rpg.), Eulis Baez (10.1 ppg., 6.9 rpg., 2.4 apg.).
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