Additional Quotes: USA 78, Uruguay 70
USA head coach Jeff Van Gundy
Jeff Van Gundy
Your thoughts on the game? Defensively you really locked Uruguay down in the final 4-5 minute.
Defensively we were great. We were down 61-54 and things going not well for us – ejections, losses of poise, and then we defended well and made some big shots, some big 3s. Eric Moreland was terrific tonight.
Talks about earning the World Cup qualifying berth and this win on the road
Frankly it’s a relief. It’s a relief to get it done and I’m happy for everybody at USA Basketball but no person more than Sean Ford who has invested everything into this and for Gregg Popovic to be able to coach our great players in the World Cup in China. I really happy for those two guys.
What was the difference in the two halves?
I thought we played really well in the first half, or really hard. I thought they played hard. It was a classic FIBA street fight. Not pretty but we found ways to win with defense and toughness and timely shot making.
What did you think of the game’s atmosphere?
Unbelievable! Great arena, great fans! I love Uruguay’s team, they play so hard. I have great respect for their coaches and their players.
How about that game? How you feeling?
I’m feeling pretty good. We came back from a seven point deficit in the fourth quarter and got the win so we’re going to have a pleasant flight back now. Nobody wants to go back with two losses, so, I think we’re all feeling good, we came together as a team and this feels good.
You had some key rebounds and Chasson (Randle) talked about your move that helped open him up for that late 3.
You know it was my little “T-Mac” crossover, left to right, there was 10 seconds left and I saw the clock going down and I saw him coming off and I think a good shot turned into a great shot. When you’ve got Chasson coming off like that I think that’s a good option, he came off the handoff and knocked it down, it was really big time for us.
What do you think was the changing point in the game?
I think maybe when John (Jenkins) came off and hit the corner 3. I think that changed momentum. It could have been earlier but he and Chasson made two big shots, we got a couple of rebounds and we got a lot of stops, and I think we stuck to the game plan and came up with the win.
Talk about the last five minutes, what changed?
I think we showed a lot of grit, a lot of heart, a lot of toughness. The last five-six minutes of the game we dug in and I felt like guys left their hearts on the court. We were fortunate to get a win tonight, it felt like we stole something for sure.
How satisfying is this win?
Man, it’s great feeling. It’s a great feeling to be able to know that on the way back home that we helped our country qualify for the World Cup 2019.
There were some big shots made in the last couple of minutes. You made a big 3-poiter to help seal the win. Talk about that shot.
Eric (Moreland) made a great move towards the basket, I came for the handoff and was able to knock it (the 3-point shot) down. But others definitely stepped up, made plays before that and put us in position to get the win.
How satisfying is it to get this win and to do so on the road and qualify the United States for 2019 FIBA World Cup?
It feels good. Like I said, it would have been tough flying home with two losses. The way we did come came back and win, coming back from seven down, I think that’s the best part about it. We stayed together, we’ve been together a very short time and to stick together through adversity, that’s a great feeling and I’m happy we could do that not only for our coach, but for each other and for USA as well.
What was the difference down the stretch?
I think it was just hustle and then heart really. X’s and O’s go out the window at that point when you’re down six or seven late in the fourth. It was just heart. Guys stepped up and hit big shots, got big time stops. It was definitely a team effort tonight.
Could you feel momentum change late in the fourth quarter?
I think so. You could tell guys on the court and even the bench, everybody was locked in. Even at deadballs and timeouts the whole bench was talking, the coaches were into it, guys on the floor were just refusing to lose.
What’s it mean to you to be on the team that got the win to qualify the USA for the FIBA World Cup.
It means a lot. Like I said early on, a lot of us never thought we’d ever put on a Team USA jersey, so for us to not only get a chance to play but also be the team that clinches it and get the berth in the World Cup, it means a lot!