USA Cruises Past Mexico 86-63, Into FIBA World Cup Quarterfinals
• VIDEO: Game Recap
• VIDEO: Stephen Curry Post-Game
• VIDEO: Klay Thompson Post-Game
• VIDEO: Kenneth Faried Post-Game
Led by 20 points from Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors), who tallied 11-straight points in the third quarter and shot 6-of-9 from 3-point for the game, the USA (6-0) advanced into the 2014 FIBA World Cup quarterfinals with a dominating 86-63 win over Mexico (2-4) on Saturday afternoon at Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona, Spain.
The USA will play Slovenia (5-1), which advanced after beating Dominican Republic (2-3), 71-61, in the quarterfinals at 3 p.m. EDT on Sept. 9 in Barcelona.
“Overall I was pleased because it’s our sixth game in eight days, and we had this early game to get going,” said USA coach Mike Krzyzewski (Duke University). “I thought we continued to play good defense until the last few minutes when they just threw in two or three threes; they’d only had one three. So our defense on the three was terrific and especially on (Hector) Hernandez, who is their best 3-point shooter, and he didn’t score. Those are things we game planned for, and our guys responded.”
Curry’s Golden State teammate Klay Thompson finished with 15 points; James Harden (Houston Rockets) added 12 points; DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings), who followed up Curry’s third-quarter streak with nine straight points of his own, finished with 11 points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots; and Rudy Gay scored 10 points to round out the double-digit scorers.
“Another great performance,” said Curry, who also dished out four of the USA’s 18 assists. “We came out better in the first five minutes of the game with energy and started pretty well. Our defense is still the thing that is keeping us going, putting pressure on our opponents to take them out of their offense and just force the tempo, and we did that at the start of the game and it kind of carried over throughout the rest of the game.”
The USA jumped ahead 13-2 to start the game, but Mexico responded with a 7-0 run to cut it to 13-9 at 4:21. Curry hit a 3-pointer to end Mexico’s spurt, and after one more score from Mexico, the USA closed with seven straight points to lead 23-13 at the first break.
The USA hit three 3-pointers in the second quarter, including two from Harden, who scored 10 points in the period, to help outscore Mexico 19-14 and take a 42-27 lead at halftime.
At the midway point, the USA actually was shooting better from 3-point (. 429) than from inside the arc (.400), and it when on to finish the game shooting 46.6 percent from the field (34-73 FGs) and 44.8 percent from 3-point (13-29 3pt FGs).
The USA’s 15-point, 42-27 halftime lead quickly ballooned to 27 points (57-30) after a score from Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers) and Curry’s 11 straight points from 7:12 to 4:15. Cousin’s had the next nine points for the USA, and then a score by Gay helped the USA take a commanding 66-38 lead at the third-quarter break. The U.S. defense gave up just 11 points in the stanza.
“Our defense – that’s going to win us games,” Harden said. “We’re so talented offensively. Defensively if we can just click and make sure we’re on the same page for the most part, we’ll be pretty good.”
As the USA already had secured the win, Mexico outscored the USA 25-20 in the fourth quarter to bring the game to its 86-63 final.
While the USA’s scoring was spread across nine players and five in double-figures, Mexico’s NBA free agent Gustavo Ayon scored 25 of his team’s points.
In today’s round of 16 games in Madrid, France (4-2) beat Croatia (3-3) 69-64, and host Spain (5-0) will play Senegal (2-3) at 4 p.m. EDT.
The final four Round of 16 games, which will be played tomorrow, include: New Zealand (2-3) – Lithuania (4-1) at 10 a.m. EDT and Turkey (3-2) – Australia (3-2) at 2 p.m. EDT in Barcelona. In Madrid, the lineup is Serbia (2-3) – Greece (5-0) at 12 p.m. EDT and Brazil (4-1) – Argentina (3-2) at 4 p.m. EDT.
Winners of the round of 16 games will advance to the quarterfinals, while losers are eliminated. Quarterfinal winners advance to the medal round semifinals, and quarterfinal losers are eliminated from the competition. Winners of the semifinals will advance to the Sept. 14 gold medal game, and semifinals losers will meet in the bronze medal game on Sept. 13. The round of 16, quarterfinal and semifinal games will be played in Barcelona and Madrid, and the bronze and gold medal games will be held in Madrid.
Rounding out Krzyzewski’s USA National Team staff as assistant coaches are Syracuse University and Naismith Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim, Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau and New Orleans Pelicans head coach Monty Williams.
Since the first FIBA World Championship was held in 1950, the USA has won 11 medals – four gold medals, three silver medals and four bronze medals – while compiling an all time 120-27 win-loss record. Led By Krzyzewski, the Americans are defending World Champions having claim gold in Istanbul with a 9-0 record.
STAT NOTES: Anthony Davis swatted four of Mexico shots and now has 13 for the World Cup … The USA held Mexico to 38.4 percent from the field (28-73 FGs) and 25.0 percent from 3-point (4-16 3pt FGs) … The USA scored 21 points on the fast break and converted Mexico’s 16 turnovers into 26 points while coughing up the ball just 15 times itself … The U.S. bench outscored Mexico’s bench 38 to 21.