USA 3x3 Men’s World Cup Team Heads into Quarterfinals Unbeaten
With another perfect day in the books, the USA Men’s 3x3 World Cup Team (4-0) earned the top spot in Group A and advanced to the FIBA 3x3 World Cup medal quarterfinals with a 4-0 record. In its second day of competition, the USA overwhelmed South Korea (1-3) 22-8, then battled for a 15-14 victory against 2018 3x3 World Cup silver medalist Netherlands (2-2) on Friday evening in Amsterdam.Canyon Barry (Iowa Wolves/Florida/Colorado Springs, Colo.) finished as the USA’s top scorer for the day with a combined 17 points over the two contests. Robbie Hummel (Purdue/Valparaiso, Ind.) totaled eight points, Damon Huffman (Brown/Petoskey, Mich.) scored seven and Kareem Maddox (Princeton/Los Angeles, Calif) added five points.
“Yesterday Robbie was hot and the rest of us checked our egos at the door and said, ‘what can we do to get Robbie as many shots as possible?’” said Barry. “And today, my teammates put me in position to be successful. So, it speaks to our togetherness and the mentality that it doesn’t matter who gets the credit as long as the USA wins.”
The only undefeated team remaining in the tournament, the USA will take on Slovenia (3-1), which finished as the No. 2 seed out of Group C, in the July 22 quarterfinals at 1:30 p.m. EDT.
“At this point, it means nothing,” said Barry of his team’s perfect record. “Once you make the quarterfinals, your record is washed. So, obviously we wanted to celebrate and enjoy the win, but now it’s back to business. Because if you lose a game now, you’re out.”
Serbia (3-1), which finished second in Group A, faces France (3-1), Group C’s top seed. Advancing to the quarterfinals following Group B and Group D games yesterday were four teams with 3-1 records. Ukraine earned the top spot out of Group B and will face Latvia, Group D's No. 2 seeded team; while Poland finished first in Group D and will meet Puerto Rico, second out of Group B.
In the July 23 semifinals, the USA versus Slovenia winner will go up against the winner of Poland versus Puerto Rico and the winner of the France versus Serbia contest will face the winner of Ukraine versus Latvia quarterfinal. The gold medal game will be played later that day (1:30 p.m. EDT).
“Slovenia is probably one of the most experienced teams in the 3x3 World Cup in terms of total games played, probably aside from Serbia,” said Huffman. “They’ll be very familiar with this position in knowing how to prepare. They are also very smart and crafty. So, we’re going to have to make sure we game plan the right way and know how we want to defend them each and every play.”
Fans in the USA can watch the games live online at FloHoops.com.
Opening the day against South Korea, the U.S. broke a 1-1 tie on a Barry 2-pointer in the first minute. After a Korean bucket, Barry poured in five-straight points in a 7-0 run that put the USA up 10-2. The Americans continued to pull away for the eventual 22-8 victory with 1:33 left in regulation.
Barry, who hit five 2-pointers, led the way against South Korea with 11 points, Hummel followed with five points, Maddox scored four and Huffman chipped in two points.
The USA’s final game was its toughest.
A win would assure the team’s advancement to the medal round. A loss would likely leave the USA, Netherlands and Serbia in a three-way tie. Based on FIBA’s tie-breaking formula, the U.S. could fall to the Netherlands as long as the red, white and blue scored at least 14 points. But losing is never an option.
Playing against the host in front of a loud, packed, orange-clad crowd made the contest even more pressure-filled.
“Going into the game, we knew it was going to be tough,” said Barry. “Obviously, Netherlands had the home court advantage and had a lot of fans here. It was a great atmosphere to play in, that’s why you love playing basketball, playing in front of crowds, getting the adrenaline going.”
In a game filled with momentum swings, the USA’s defense frustrated Netherlands over the first four minutes of the game, while Huffman scored five points in a 7-1 opening run.
The men in orange weren’t about to quit and scored the next three points to make it 7-4 midway through the contest.
The tide turned again, and the USA posted a 3-0 spurt to take a 10-4 lead with 2:49 on the clock.
At 2:13 the USA was still up by six, 13-7, when Netherlands stormed back and hit a pair of 2s in a 6-0 run to tie the game with 43.1 seconds remaining on the clock. Five seconds later Barry drove to the basket for a bucket that assured the USA’s advancement to the quarterfinals. Netherlands countered once more, but Barry again went inside for the game’s final point that gave the Americans the 15-14 victory.
“In this game against the Netherlands (Canyon Barry) made two big plays when we were a little fatigued,” said Huffman. “He came in and made two really good drives for us to put us over the threshold and we came out with the victory. He’s gotten better every day and that shows what kind of quality player he is.”
Barry made 5-of-6 and led his side with six points, Huffman was 4-of-7 to finish with five points, Hummel scored four points and grabbed four boards and Maddox nabbed a game-high seven rebounds to go with one point and two blocked shots.
“We’ve played this team a few times before and every time we’ve played them it’s world class 3x3 basketball,” said Huffman following the game against the Netherlands. “They’re true competitors. Today was our day. We came out strong, but they made plays in front of the home crowd. I’ve never heard a Dutch gym this loud in my life, and I played in the Netherlands. So, cheers to the fans.”
Olympic fans will see the launch of a new basketball discipline with the inclusion of 3x3 in 2020. The exciting and fast-paced game officially was unveiled in international competition at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games and has since become a fan favorite at FIBA 3x3 World Cup events. Played on a half court with a 10-minute clock, and a 12-second shot clock, the first team to 21 points, or the team in the lead at the end of regulation, is the winner. The non-stop action of 3x3 will ensure it is one of the hottest tickets in Tokyo, and fans in Las Vegas will get an early taste of that excitement during the USA Basketball 3x3 Nationals.
About the FIBA 3x3 World Cup
The sixth FIBA 3x3 World Cup, an event launched in 2012 and originally scheduled to be held every other year, is now an annual event that features 20 men's teams and 20 women's teams in 2019. In addition to the men’s and women’s 3x3 tournaments, included in the 2019 3x3 World Cup program will be skills contests, giving athletes chances to win additional medals.
Including the 2-0 slate on July 21, the USA men 3x3 teams have compiled a 20-9 overall record in five 3x3 World Cups and claimed the silver medal, its first podium finish, at the 2016 3x3 Worlds.