Additional Quotes: Mexico 78, USA 70
Jeff Van Gundy (USA head coach)
Mexico dominated us from the start and that’s on me. We were not ready to compete at the level Mexico did. Give them all the credit, they played a great, great game. In the second half we competed at a high level and that high level got us back in the game, but we just couldn’t get over the hump.
About playing Cuba in Havana on Sunday:
We’re playing another road game and we’re going to have to play a lot better than we just did. I think every individual has to self-reflect, I have to do the same, and hopefully we’ll play a better game on Sunday.
Can you take anything good from this game?
You know what, when you’re not ready to play you don’t feel good about anything and it’s not good enough, and I have to reflect because we’ve had too many of these games where we’re just not ready for the passion and intensity from the first possession. The reasons really don’t matter, we just got to be more ready.
What about playing Cuba Sunday?
They played a really good road game tonight , they lost by four (84-80) at Puerto Rico which is a heck of a performance. They’re big and strong and physical, and we’re going to have to play a lot better. You don’t win on the road playing a partial game, you’ve got to play the whole game.
Is there any key in the game again Cuba that will be the key?
I think it will be our ability to bounce back from disappointment. We’ve won close games, even though some of these guys have played and some haven’t, now we have deal with the disappointment of losing. We’ve got to bounce back.
Reggie Hearn (Grand Rapids Drive)
What was the difference in the two halves tonight? Was it just getting too far in a hole?
Yeah, I think so. we probably underestimated them a little bit at least from a team standpoint. The atmosphere was electric and I don’t think we handled their pressure very well. A lot of actions we were trying to run in terms of getting guys coming off down screens they were just switching, they did a lot more switching than at least I expected them to do. And then it was just trying to climb out of the hole. You get a little tired putting all the energy into coming back and we just couldn’t get over the hump.
When Marcus (Thornton) hit a couple of 3s could you feel the momentum?
Yeah absolutely. I told the guys at halftime it was no different than when we were in the AmeriCup final, down 20 to Argentina, halfway through the third quarter. I knew we had it in us, we just had to come out and take care of business and we started hitting some shots. Then in the fourth quarter they just played well. I think they hit a lot of big shots early. Sometimes basketball is about making them miss the shot and they hit their shots early on and we didn’t. Obviously there’s a lot more that goes into it, but to answer your question, I did feel the momentum swinging and we felt pretty good going into the fourth quarter.
You been on USA teams before, what will it take to bounce back from this loss and play a tough road game in Cuba?
I think we’re all professionals, we’ve lost before, we’ve had other defeats in the past. This one hurts a lot, you know this is representing your country. This game is in the past now. I personally we probably stew in my emotions and anger tonight, but once tomorrow hits it’s a new day and we’ll get focused on Cuba and we know we’ve got to win that game and we’ll come out focused, we’re professionals and this is what we do.
Xavier Munford (Wisconsin Herd)
How difficult was it to dig yourselves out of the hole?
It was tough, they’re a great team, they’re an experienced team that has played together for a while. When you go down 20 points in the first quarter it’s tough to bounce back from that. We fought hard, we tried to make stops but it wasn’t enough.
Did the crowd being so vocal and supportive of Mexico make this a more exciting experience, a harder experience?
All basketball players love playing in great environments and this was a great environment tonight. The fans were loud, they were live, they were into game and they really helped the Mexican team tonight.
To bounce back against Cuba what does the team need to do?
Get back to the drawing board, make some minor adjustments, but we’ve go to still stick ti our game plan. We’ve got to come out stronger, throw the first punch and we can’t get down 20 points in the first quarter.
Marcus Thornton (Canton Charge)
Talk about the effort it takes to battle back in the game; what was the difference in the first quarter?
We knew they were a tough team and no matter where you’re playing it’s hard to dig yourself out of hole. They caught us off guard to start the game, we prepared for it but their intensity and their aggression kind of had us on our heels. We fought back and played a much better second half but it just wasn’t enough.
In the second half as you started making some 3s it seemed to loosen everybody else up, could you fell that?
Yeah, for sure, for sure. I thought we had a great momentum swing right there, we started stringing together stops which is really the reason we were able to get into our offense and make some shots and get it going a little bit. That was good going into the fourth quarter but it’s all about getting stops.
Next up is Cuba and another tough road game. What will it take to get the win there?
Just mental toughness. This was a tough one but we play again son so we’ve got to rally back, you know lean on each other, our motto is staying together, sticking with each other. We’re moving on to the net game plan and looking to get a win in Cuba.
Does playing in an environment where there was so much partisan cheering for the Mexican team, does that energize you?
For sure, I love it. I thought it was a great environment that we played in tonight. I thought the atmosphere was fun, I thought the energy in the gym was really good.