Additional Quotes: USA 85, Puerto Rico 78
Jeff Van Gundy (USA head coach)
On the game:
I was really proud of our guys. For those of our players that have played in a FIBA game, I think knew what to expect, but those that had not played in a FIBA game, it was harder for them initially to adapt and adjust. 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. I’m really proud of them, happy for them, and I want to echo what Reggie (Hearn) said. I’m appreciative of the crowd and the outstanding coaching that Eddie (Casiano) does with his Puerto Rican team and the heart that they display.
What was the difference in the second half?
I thought we guarded better and I liked our mental strength and toughness. I think it started with the returning guys – Heard, Warney and Munford.
Reggie Hearn (Reno Bighorns)
On the game:
First of all, it was a great crowd with a lot of Puerto Rican fans. They brought a great atmosphere. It reminded me a lot of the AmeriCup in Uruguay and Argentina. Hats off to the Puerto Rican team. They played with a lot of heart and a lot of grit. It was a great game. I thought it was a great game for the fans. We were just happy to come out with the victory. Coach did a great job of coaching us. A lot of guys stepped up in the second half, and we were happy to get the victory. We’re going to go back to the hotel and eat some turkey.
Jameel Warney (Texas Legends)
Was the intensity of the game what you expected?
Definitely. We’ve been through this already over the summer, so you kind of know what to expect, but they were a good team. I’m happy we came out with the win.
What was the key in the second half?
Just gettings stops. 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. We stopped turning the ball over and started getting rebounds. We started playing our game and that’s what happened in the second half.
What were you thinking as Puerto Rico was draining 3s early?
Is this Argentina (from AmeriCup 2017 final) all over again? Is this Uruguay (from AmeriCup 2017 preliminary round play) all over again? Just bear down, it’s a long game, even though it can seem like a short time. We can take the first punch and punch back. We’re a talented team. We just had to keep on pushing.
They are a tough team, so we can’t let them get easy points. We’ll have to score in transition, knowing they are a little bit slower, so try to play at our speed. We have to play from the start of the game. We can’t let them have the first punch again. At the end, we have to be up when the time’s up.