USA Men Finish 1-1 On First Day Of FIBA 3x3 World Cup
The USA Men’s 3x3 World Cup Team finished its first day of competition at the 2017 FIBA 3x3 World Cup on June 17 in Nantes, France, with a 1-1 record after falling to Netherlands (2-0) 19-12 and then downing Indonesia (1-1) 21-8.
“I think we were pretty down after the first game, just because we didn’t come out and perform the way we know we can,” said USA guard Damon Huffman (Peoskey, Mich.). “Then, we turned it around pretty quick and had a second game against Indonesia and really came out of the gates strong. It was a good game to bounce back. Unfortunately, going 1-1 was not how we wanted to start, but I think the second game was a good representation of who we are and how we can to play.”
Against Netherlands, the USA trailed 3-0 before Craig Moore (Doylestown, Pa.) scored at 7:12 to put the USA’s first point on the board. Daniel Mavraides (Los Angeles, Calif.) followed with a bucket, but after three scores from Netherlands, the USA trailed 6-2. A 2-pointer from Moore and a score from Zahir Carrington (Philadelphia, Pa.) brought the USA within one point, 6-5, and it remained a close game, within three points, until the last three minutes. Leading 12-10, Netherlands scored six-straight points to go ahead 18-10. Mavraides and Carrington each scored once more, while Netherlands added one point, and the buzzer sounded on the game with the USA losing 19-12. Huffman was the USA’s leading scorer in the game with five points.
“We knew that the Netherlands was one of the top teams,” Huffman said. “They have four guys that are very experienced 3x3 basketball players. They did a good job of making up playing faster than we wanted to, and then we just didn’t perform well, not making shots.”
Though the USA struggled from deep against Netherlands, making just one 2-pointer, it heated up in its win over Indonesia and made eight 2-point shots to put the game away before the 10-minute game clock expired. With the score 1-1, Moore sank two-straight shots from behind the arc, and then Mavraides sank two long balls, and the USA led 9-3. The USA only continued to roll from there. After making a 1-point shot, Huffman sank three 2-pointers in a row to give the USA an 18-7 lead. Mavraides made it 20-7 with a basket from behind the arc a few seconds later. Indonesia scored, and then Huffman ended the game at 21-8 with the final point. Huffman again led the USA, this time with eight points. Mavraides added six.
After an off day on June 18, the USA will conclude preliminary round play on June 19 against New Zealand (1-1) at 8:40 a.m. EDT and South Korea (0-2) at 11:40 a.m. EDT. Watch the action live at YouTube.com/3x3planet.
“We watched both of New Zealand’s and South Korea’s games, and I think we have film,” said Huffman. “They have some great athletes, big strong guys. I believe South Korea, all of their guys play in their top, professional league.
“We have to take care of our bodies. It’s literally a 10-minute sprint, and you get fatigued very, very quickly. Having this off day tomorrow, we’ll have practice, loosen up the body, get some shots up, go over the game film and prepare.”
The top two finishing teams from each of the four preliminary round groups will advance to the quarterfinals on June 21, where A1 will play D2, B1 will play C2, C1 will play B2 and D1 will play A2.
The quarterfinal winners will play in the semifinals on June 21. The semifinal winners will compete in the gold medal game on June 21, and the semifinal losers will battle for the bronze medal that same day.
Medals also are available for men in the dunk contest, which begins on June 19 with a qualification round. The semifinals and finals of the dunk contest will be on June 21.
Now an annual event, the first FIBA 3x3 World Cup was held in 2012.
USA 3x3 Men’s World Cup Teams have compiled a 14-8 overall record and claimed the silver medal, the first podium finish, in 2016.