USA Basketball’s 3x3 World Championship Teams Advance To The Quarterfinals
The 2016 USA Basketball Men’s (4-0) and Women’s (3-1) 3x3 World Championship Teams each advanced to the quarterfinals as No. 1 seeds after finishing preliminary round play at the 2016 FIBA 3x3 World Championship in Guangzhou, China.
The USA men defeated Japan (2-2) 21-12 and China (0-4) 21-15 to remain unbeaten, while the USA women topped Taiwan (1-3) 17-8, before falling to a determined Spain (3-1) team 21-16.
The quarterfinals, which are win-or-go-home games, will see the USA men, which are the No. 1 seed from Group D, meet Qatar (3-1), the No. 2 seed from Group A at 3:40 a.m. on Oct. 15 (all times listed are EDT, however, quarterfinal game times are subject to change). As the No. 1 seed from Group C, the USA women will meet Argentina (3-1), the No. 2 seed from Group B at 2:50 a.m. on Oct. 15.
“It feels good heading into the quarterfinals 4-0,” said USA men’s forward Alfonzo McKinnie (Green Bay/Chicago, Ill.). “That was the goal, and we accomplished it. Now, we just have to build off of that and go into the quarterfinals with the same mindset.”
The USA men put together a highlight-filled performance in their win over Japan. Starting the game off with an alley-oop dunk from Stefhon Hannah (Missouri/Chicago, Ill.) to McKinnie, the USA led 5-2 just 1:33 into the game. Myke Henry (DePaul/Chicago, Ill.), who led the USA with 10 points and two blocked shots, kicked off a 7-0 run that put the USA ahead 12-3 with 5:38 remaining. From there, the USA coasted to a 21-point win that was earned with 1:51 still on the clock. Hannah and McKinnie each scored four points, and Kavon Lytch (Oklahoma City University/Brooklyn, N.Y.) added three.
Against China, the USA men jumped out to lead 6-0, but China tied the game at 8-all and 10-all with 5:20 remaining in the game. The USA responded, however, and led 16-10, before China again came back to trail 17-15 with 3:20 on the clock. From there, the USA held China scoreless to finish off the game with a 21-15 win on a dunk from Henry at 2:28. Hannah had eight points, Henry added six, McKinnie contributed four and Lytch finished with three points.
“We came out pretty strong,” McKinnie said. “I feel like we guarded how we wanted to guard. At certain points of the game against China we got a little stagnant, but we were able to pick it up, and we were able to come out with two wins.”
After a slow start, the USA women topped Taiwan 17-8. Trailing 3-0 in the first two minutes, the USA trailed 4-3 with 5:13 remaining before it reeled off an 11-1 run that included three 2-pointers from Natalie Romeo (Washington/Martinez, Calif.) to go ahead 14-5 and secure the game’s outcome. Romeo had six points, Alexis Jennings (South Carolina/Madison, Ala.) added five and Chatrice White (Florida State/Shelby, Neb.) had four.
Against Spain, the USA women fell behind 10-3 after 2:41 of play. The USA made a comeback attempt, but Spain never let up. With Spain leading 20-16, they sealed the win with a basket with 1:56 left on the clock. Linnae Harper (Ohio State/Chicago, Ill.) and Jennings each contributed five points, while Romeo added four points.
Spain’s victory over the USA set up a three-way tie in Group C, between the USA, Spain and Italy (3-1). The USA advanced as the No. 1 seed because FIBA’s tie-breaking format uses points to determine the higher seeds, and the USA led with 75 points. Spain advanced with 71 points over Italy's 67.
“I think today, we just were not at the top of our game,” White said. “But, we still played hard, regardless of if the shots weren’t falling. There was still a lot of effort. We have to give credit to Spain. They really needed the win to qualify for the quarterfinals, so they came out hard and swinging, and we weren’t quite ready for it.
“This will just give us motivation for the next few days, and I think as we enter the quarterfinals, this loss will leave a dirty taste in our mouth, and we’ll be ready to go.”
Also on Oct. 13, McKinnie took part in the dunk contest and qualified for the semifinal round, while Romeo has earned a spot in the shoot-out finals.
The remaining quarterfinal matchups from the other groups for both the men and women will be determined after the final preliminary round games on Oct. 14. Watch the quarterfinal action on Oct. 15 live online at: http://bit.ly/2016FIBA3x3Day5
The semifinals and gold and bronze medal games also will be played on Oct. 15.
The USA 3x3 World Championship Teams earned the right to represent the USA at the 2016 FIBA 3x3 World Championship by virtue of winning the 2016 USA Basketball 3x3 National Tournament on Aug. 27-28 at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The 2016 FIBA 3x3 World Championships feature a total of 40 teams from 30 different countries and every continent in Guangzhou, China.
2016 marks the first time the competition is being held in Asia. Previously, it has been in Athens, Greece (2012) and Moscow, Russia (2014). The event is held every other year in even numbered years.
The USA women won both prior championships and headed into 2016 with a perfect, 18-0 overall record in FIBA 3x3 World Championship play.
While Qatar’s men struck gold in 2014 and Serbia earned gold in 2012, the U.S. men are seeking their first medal. They begin the 2016 event with a 7-6 overall record.
Nations participating in the men’s competition are: Andorra, host China, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, Uruguay and USA.
Nations playing on the women’s side include: Andorra, Argentina, Australia, host China, Cook Islands, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Macau, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Spain, Taiwan, Ukraine and USA.