USA Men’s AmeriCup Qualifying Team Defeats Mexico 96-75
-- The USA Caps its 2022 FIBA AmeriCup Qualifying Games with a Perfect 6-0 Record --
USA Men’s AmeriCup Qualifying Team (6-0) wasted no time in racing past Mexico (2-4), holding a 58-33 advantage at halftime en route to a 96-75 victory to close out qualifying games for the 2022 FIBA AmeriCup on Saturday evening in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Ra’Shad James (Orasi Ravenna, Italy/Northwood) paced the USA to victory with 21 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the floor and 3-of-3 from 3-point; Brandon Bass (Free Agent/LSU) contributed 12 points and five rebounds; Joe Johnson (Free Agent/Arkansas) notched 11 points, a game-high-tying nine rebounds and a game-high seven assists; Will Davis II (Free Agent/UC Irvine) added 10 points and five boards; and Isaiah Thomas (Free Agent/Washington) finished with nine points and three assists.
“I thought (the cohesiveness) was huge with this team, in a short amount of time how well they came together,” said USA head coach Joe Prunty. “Obviously, you think about the basketball first, it’s what people will look at, but part of it was, they came together as a group. They helped each other a lot, whether it was learning the system or coverages or things like that throughout the week. That led to the play and the selflessness that each guy played with.”
“I thought it was great,” said Johnson of the team’s overall effort. “I thought collectively as a team we played great. We moved the basketball and got stops and got out and go easy baskets. It was fun that way.”
Mexico scored its lone 3 of the first half 10 seconds into the game, but the USA squad quickly strung together 11-straight points. Mexico outscored the USA 7-3 over the next two minutes, but a 13-0 USA run put the red, white and blue on top 27-10 with 1:57 remaining in the quarter. By the end of the first period, the U.S. was ahead 31-15.
In the second quarter, the USA continued to increase its lead and pushed it to 30 points, 58-28, with :48 to play before halftime. Mexico scored the half’s final five points and the teams headed into halftime with the USA owning a 55-33 victory.
The USA eased up in the second half for the eventual 96-75 victory.
“Coming off the bench, I had the hot hand, so I tried to stay poised and focus on doing the right things, taking the right shots and tonight, for me, was rolling,” said James, who helped the USA’s bench outscore Mexico’s reserves 49-21.
The red, white and blue shot 50.7% (35-59 FGs) and a red-hot 40.7% (11-27 3pt FGs) from 3-point, while its defense held Mexico to an ice 37.5% (27-72 FGs) from the field and a mere 19% (4-21 3-pt FGs) from afar.
Josh Boone (Free Agent/Connecticut) and Treveon Graham (Free Agent/VCU) are injured and did not play against Mexico.