Princeton Opens 2-0 To Advance at FIBA 3X3 World Tour Doha
Day one of the FIBA 3X3 World Tour Masters tournament in Doha, Qatar, saw the U.S. 3x3 team Princeton finish on top of Pool D after winning both of its preliminary round games Friday, while an undermanned NY Harlem squad was eliminated from advancing after losing its two Group C games.
Princeton, consisting of Damon Huffman (Flushing, OH), Kareem Maddox (Los Angeles, CA), Dan Mavraides ( Los Angeles, CA) and Craig Moore (New York, NY), went 2-0 Friday, defeating Bielefeld (Germany) 21-16 and edging Ub (Serbia) 21-20.
Princeton will advance to Saturday’s quarterfinals as the Group D No. 1 seed and will meet 1-1 Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), the No. 2 seed out of Group B.
Despite Ub playing with just three players, the Serbian team battled Princeton until the end. Princeton trailed 17-15, but behind baskets from Huffman, Maddox and Mavraides, regained an 18-17 lead. Ub’s Ivan Popovic banked home a 2-pointer with 1:08 remaining to push Ub ahead 19-18, and after Youssef Badr scored on an offensive rebound, Ub led 20-18 and was a point away from claiming the win.
Moore drained a 2-point shot with 57 seconds left to deadlock the score at 20-20. Ub's Popovic drove to the hoop for what appeared would be a game-winning layup, but the 6-8 Maddox blocked the shot at the rim. Huffman chased down the ball, drove to the basket and dropped it off to Maddox for the game-clinching basket with 43 seconds left. Maddox finished with impressive stats of nine points and 13 rebounds, while Huffman tallied five points, Moore added four and Mavraides scored three points.
In Princeton’s first win, a 21-16 victory of Bielefeld, the score was tied 14-14 with 4:47 to play. Moore scored on back-to-back possessions to lift Princeton ahead 16-14, and after Mavraides sank two free throws, the Princeton lead ballooned to 18-14. Huffman scored to make the score 19-15, and Huffman ended the game with 2:52 remaining when he connected on a 2-pointer to seal the 21-16 victory. Huffman led Princeton with 10 points, while Moore added six and Mavraides tossed in four points.
NY Harlem, comprised of Marcel Esonwune (New York, NY), Dominique Jones (Harlem, NY) and David Seagers (Bronxville, NY), was forced to play with just three players.
Falling 21-8 in its opening pool play game versus Utena (Lithuania), Harlem was defeated 22-7 by Lausanne (Switzerland) in its second contest (video replay of the game is available here).
Tied at 6-6, Utena scored five straight points to take a 11-6 lead with 6:31 to play and went on to post the 21-8 victory with 4:27 left on the clock. Jones led NY Harlem with seven points.
Facing Luasanne in their second game, Harlem quickly fell behind 6-1 and never got back into the game, falling 22-7 with 4:40 remaining on the clock. Jones finished with five points.
Featuring 14 teams, the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Doha Masters 2020 is the fourth FIBA official competition since FIBA suspended all its competitions due to the COVID-19 outbreak on March 13, 2020.
The pinnacle of the 3x3 professional circuit, the FIBA 3x3 World Tour is comprised of four Masters competitions: (Aug. 29-30), (Sept. 1-2), (Sept. 4-5) and Doha Masters (Nov. 20-21). Prize money at each Masters competition stop is $109,000.
Ten teams already have stamped their ticket to Saudi Arabia: Liman (Serbia), Riga (LAT), Novi Sad (Serbia), NY Harlem (USA), Piran (Slovenia), Sakiai Gulbele (Lithuania), Lausanne (Switzerland), Ub (Serbia), Utena (Lithuania) and Jeddah (Saudi Arabia).
A total of 14 squads are playing in Doha, and seven of them have already qualified for the Final. The other four Final qualification berths will go to the top four placing teams. Princeton can guarantee itself a spot in the World Tour Finals by advancing to the semifinal round in Doha.
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. Olympic fans will see the the inclusion of 3x3 in the Tokyo Olympic Games next July.