USA vs. Mexico - Things To Know
The USA Basketball Men’s AmeriCup Qualifying Team concludes AmeriCup Qualifying play facing Mexico on Saturday, 5:00 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN+.
The 2020-21 FIBA AmeriCup qualifiers feature 16 teams from the Americas zone divided into four groups of four teams. The top three finishing teams in each Group will earn a qualifying berth in the FIBA AmeriCup 2021 (2020-21 AmeriCup Qualifying Schedule/Results). The U.S., Brazil and the Dominican Republic have locked up their qualifying berths.
FIBA AmeriCup qualifying consists of three windows, and each window features two games.
The first AmeriCup qualifying window was held Feb. 20-24, 2020. The USA opened play with an 83-70 win over Puerto Rico in San Juan and followed that up with a 95-73 victory against Puerto Rico on Feb. 23 in Washington, D.C.
In window two, held November 29-30, 2020, in Indianapolis, Indiana, the USA improved its record to 4-0 after recording convincing wins over Bahamas (99-59) and Mexico (94-78).
The third and final qualifying window kicked off Friday and USA post a 93-77 victory over Bahamas. The Americans are slated to close out AmeriCup qualifying play against Mexico on Saturday.
Here are some things to know about Saturday's USA-Mexico FIBA AmeriCup qualifying game.
The 2021 February USA AmeriCup Qualifying Team (USA Roster):
Former NBA coach Joe Prunty is head coach of the February 2021 USA AmeriCup Qualifying Team, and assisting Prunty on the U.S. bench will be experienced USA Basketball coaches Othella Harrington and Yale University head coach James Jones.
“This is a tremendous honor and an exciting opportunity. It means a lot to me be a part of USA Basketball and represent our country. I’m looking forward to working with Sean Ford (USA Basketball men’s national team director), Othella Harrington, James Jones, and the entire USA Basketball staff,” said Prunty.
The USA roster includes Cat Barber (Free Agent/North Carolina State); Brandon Bass (Free Agent/LSU); Josh Boone (Free Agent/Connecticut); Chris Daniels (Free Agent/ Texas A&M Univ.–Corpus Christi); Will Davis II (Free Agent/UC Irvine); Treveon Graham (Free Agent/VCU); Ra’Shad James (Orasi Ravenna, Italy/Northwood); Joe Johnson (Free Agent/Arkansas); Dakota Mathias (Free Agent/Purdue); James Nunnally (Free Agent/UC Santa Barbara); Jordan Sibert (Free Agent/Dayton); Isaiah Thomas (Free Agent/Washington); and Tre’Shawn Thurman (Free Agent/Nevada).
Coach Prunty on what he has liked about the team during its training:
"I’ve liked how well we as a team have played together, you can see them talking to each other constantly. We’ve done a really nice job as we changed lineups, guys are working well with one another so it’s not just this group and that group. We’ve had enough looks where we’ve had different combinations of guys being out there and they’ve connected really well. It a tribute to them, their skills, their ability to communicate and obviously practice is different from a game. We like what we’ve seen but it’s got to translate into the game as well."
Coach Prunty on the USA's win over the Bahamas:
"They threw a lot at us. They used a press, they used zone, they use zone and man. They obviously played man. So, they threw a lot of different things at us. I thought we responded, well, not great. Certainly, could be better at it. And part of it was it wasn't necessarily the plays, it was just the reading the open spots, and that's part of getting comfortable with playing with one another. We had a very good week of practice. But again, it's different. That’s why getting on the court and playing in games -- you know scrimmages are great and practice – but getting on the floor and playing in games is so important. And it was something that we talked about is that when we see a different coverage, meaning obviously they switched a lot within their man, but the press, or the zone, or some of these other things, it's really, really important that we just make the read and make plays, as opposed to trying to focus on running plays. And what you saw, is at times we got late in the shot clock, because we held the ball a little bit too much in some of those situations."
Mexico enters the game with a 2-3 record after falling 80-70 to Puerto Rico (2-3) Friday night. Trailing by five points going into the final quarter, Mexico rallied to take its first lead, 67-65 game with just 5:00 minutes left to play. However, Puerto Rico went on to earn the win outscoring Mexico 15-3 in the final five minutes. Turnovers plagued Mexico as Puerto Rico scored 21 points off 18 turnovers and Mexico struggled from the foul line making just 14 of 23 charity tries.
Mexico is led by 6-foot-3 Gabriel Giron who scored a team-high 17 points Friday against Puerto Rico and is averaging 14.7 ppg during the qualifiers. Gustavo Ayon, 6-foot-9 center, recorded 16 points and 8 rebounds in Friday's loss to Puerto Rico, and 6-foot-7 forward Marcos Ramos is averaging 10.0 ppg. and 4.7 rpg. in the AmeriCup Qualifying games.
USA-Mexico Series History:
The USA is 10-1 versus Mexico in senior level FIBA or FIBA Americas games. In all competitions, the USA is 30-2 all-time in games versus Mexico.
The USA defeated Mexico in AmeriCup Qualifying window two action on Nov. 30, 2020. The USA improved to 4-0 after fending off a resilient Mexico team to earn a 94-78 victory in Indianapolis, Indiana. The victory assured the United States its berth into the FIBA AmeriCup 2022 by virtue of at least a top-three finish in its FIBA AmeriCup Qualifying Group D. Yante Maten led the USA with 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field to go with nine rebounds; Josh Magette added 19 points and was 7-of-7 from the free throw line; John Jenkins finished with 16 points; Travis Trice contributed 14 points and six assists; and Levi Randolph compiled 12 points, five rebounds and four assists.
The USA's lone senior level loss came on June 28, 2018, in a World Cup Qualifying game in Mexico City. The USA suffered a 78-70 loss in front of a packed house and vocal home crowd. Mexico scored the first 18 points in the game and the Americans fell into a 21-point hole in the first quarter. The USA closed to within two points early in the fourth, but Mexico created some breathing room and then made 6-of-8 free throws in the final 1:07 to seal the win. The USA handed Mexico a 91-55 setback in Greensboro, N.C. in the first meeting of the 2017-18 FIBA World Cup Qualifying games. Starting the game with six-straight 3-pointers, the USA relied on a balanced scoring attack to defeat Mexico 91-55 on Nov. 26 at the Greensboro Coliseum Fieldhouse.
All-time, the U.S. is 2-0 versus Mexico in Olympic games (71-40 in 1958 and 25-10 in 1936); 3-0 in FIBA World Cup games (86-63 in 2014, 75-65 in 1967 and 88-74 in 1963); and 3-0 in FIBA Americas Championship contests (127-100 in 2007, 96-69 in 2003 and 96-86 in 1989).
Returning for Mexico from the first window of AmeriCup Qualifying are four players: 6-foot-2 guard Omar de Haro Gutiérrez (14.5 ppg.), 6-foot-6 forward Fabian Misael Jaimes Nava (6.0 ppg.and 8.5 rpg.), 6-foot-9 center Jose Israel Gutiérrez Zermeño (3.0 ppg. and 4.5 rpg.); and 6-foot-10 center Edgar Garibay Padilla.
A Historic Meeting In San Juan:
The USA Basketball Men's National Team last played in San Juan on Feb. 20, 2020, in the first window of 2020-21 FIBA AmeriCup Qualifying.
The 2003 USA Basketball Men's National Team finished a perfect 10-0, won the gold medal at the FIBA Americas Olympic Qualifying Tournament in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and most importantly, qualified the USA men for the 2004 Olympics. The USA showing in San Juan was a team effort that saw six of the squad's 12 players finish averaging in double digits in scoring. The USA was led by center Tim Duncan, who averaged team highs of 15.6 ppg. and 8.0 rpg., Allen Iverson posted 14.3 ppg., while Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady each accounted for 12.6 ppg., Jermaine O'Neal added 11.2 ppg. and 6.2 rpg., and Ray Allen finished averaging 10.6 ppg. Jason Kidd and Michael Bibby led the USA in assists, averaging 5.0 apg. and 4.8 apg., respectively.
The USA also visited San Juan in 1999 for the FIBA Americas Olympic Qualifying Tournament. The 1999 USA Basketball Men's National Team was also successful in San Juan, finishing 10-0 and earning qualifying berth for the 2000 Olympics. In 1999 the USA defeated Puerto Rico 115-76. Gary Payton paced the high scoring USA offense averaging 16.0 ppg. and 4.6 assists, while Tim Duncan tossed in 12.7 ppg. and team highs of 9.1 rpg. and 2.4 blocked shots. Kevin Garnett averaged 11.9 ppg., 7.0 rpg. and 2.2 blocked shots a game, Tim Hardaway scored 11.9 ppg., Allan Houston added 10.4 ppg. Guard Jason Kidd scored 7.4 ppg. and led the U.S. in assists, handing out 6.8 a game.
Already qualified for the 1994 World Championship by virtue of winning the 1992 Olympic Games, USA Basketball sent a 12-member team of players from the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) to the 1993 Tournament of the Americas. Directing the USA team was Mike Thibault, head coach of the 1993 CBA champion Omaha Racers. Under Thibault’s hand, the USA squad rolled to a 6-1 overall record and claimed the tournament’s top finish and the accompanying gold medal by eliminating host Puerto Rico (109-95) in the gold medal game.
USA Team Notes:
Five of the 13 USA players boast of prior USA Basketball experience. Will Davis II was a finalist for the 2017 USA Basketball Men’s AmeriCup Team and participated in the team’s August 2017 training camp; Treveon Graham was a member of the 2013 USA World University Games Team; Ra’Shad James was a finalist for the 2017 USA Basketball Men’s AmeriCup Team and participated in the August 2017 training camp; Joe Johnson was a member of the 2006 USA National Team and the bronze medalist 2006 USA World Cup Team, 2006 USA National Team, 2000 USA World Championship For Young Men Qualifying Team and the 1999 USA Nike Hoop Summit Team; and Isaiah Thomas was a member of the 2018 USA Basketball Men’s National Team and attended the team’s minicamp.
Eight of the U.S. players have NBA regular season experience: Brandon Bass (758 NBA regular-season games); Josh Boone (256 NBA regular-season games); Treveon Graham (180 NBA regular-season games); Joe Johnson (1,276 NBA regular-season games); Dakota Mathias (8 NBA regular season games); James Nunnally (28 NBA regular season games); Jordan Sibert (1 NBA regular season game); and Isaiah Thomas (525 NBA regular-season games).
Nine of the USA players have played internationally – Cat Barber (Israel and Italy); Brandon Bass (China); Josh Boone (Australia, China, Estonia, Philippines, Russia and Turkey); Chris Daniels (Argentina, China, Korea, Lebanon and Philippines); Will Davis II (Canada, Cyprus, Greece and Romania); Ra’Shad James (Germany, Italy, Poland, Slovenia, South Korea and Turkey); Dakota Mathias (Spain); James Nunnally (China, Greece, Italy, Israel, Puerto Rico, Spain and Turkey); Jordan Sibert (Germany and Greece).
Nine players boast of NBA G League experience: Cat Barber (149 games); Josh Boone (9 games); Will Davis II (98 games); Treveon Graham (47 games); Ra’Shad James; (108 games); Dakota Mathias (42 games); James Nunnally (84 games); Jordan Sibert (126 games); and Tre’Shawn Thurman (38 games).
USA - Mexico Information
The game is available via ESPN+
LiveStats: USA vs. Mexico Live Stats