The USA Men’s Basketball team (3-1) never trailed while cruising to an 89-67 win over previously undefeated Mexico (3-1) on Sunday afternoon at the Entertainment and Sports Arena in Washington, D.C. The victory wrapped up the USA’s play in the second window of FIBA World Cup Qualifying action in the Americas zone.
Sunday’s performance was a convincing outcome that followed a 97-88 U.S. loss the last time the two teams met in the first window on Nov. 30 in Mexico.
While Mexico found success inside, matching the USA’s 43 rebounds and getting 32 points in the paint and 14 second-chance points, the USA was helped by 15 made 3-pointers (15-43 3pt FGs, .349) in the win.
“We started this camp with Mexico on our heart,” said USA head coach Jim Boylen . “They humbled us in Mexico. We were ready to play against them. They beat us from the 3-point line down there, and they beat us bad. So, I have to give our guys credit. They came prepared. They followed the game plan and they executed against a really good team that we respect.”
Langston Galloway (College Park Skyhawks/Saint Joseph’s) led the USA with 16 points, David Stockton (Memphis Hustle/Gonzaga) had 15, Joe Johnson (Free Agent/Arkansas) scored 14 points, Matt Ryan (Grand Rapids Gold/Chattanooga) added 12 points and Justin Wright-Foreman (Birmingham Squadron/Hofstra) rounded out the double-digit scorers with 10 points.
Jared Harper (Birmingham Squadron/Auburn) had six assists, while Jordan Bell (Fort Wayne Mad Ants/Oregon) was the top rebounder with seven boards.
“It’s big,” Galloway said of the win. “We knew they were a desperate team, and we had to come out with a lot of energy, a lot of focus, because they have a lot of skilled and talented a players. So, us coming out and playing hard and having fun – that was the biggest thing to me. We had a lot of fun tonight as a team, got a lot of rebounds, which was big, because they are a big, physical team. We just took it one possession at a time and just continued to build on that lead.”
Both teams started the game cold. The USA was 4-of-13 from the field in the first seven minutes and 11-7 at 2:56. From there, however, the USA heated up, outscoring Mexico 13-7 to take a 24-14 lead at the first quarter break. The USA finished the period shooting 42.1% with eight assists, while the USA defense limited Mexico to just 29.4% from the field in the first stanza.
The USA gave up only seven points to Mexico in the second quarter, while Johnson scored eight of the USA’s 24 points in the period, and the USA lead ballooned to 48-21 at halftime.
By the midway point, the USA had committed just two turnovers.
Mexico had a 10-0 run early in the third quarter that helped it trim the margin by four points in the period, but the USA still was comfortably in the lead, 68-45, headed into the fourth.
The USA built its biggest lead in the fourth quarter, 89-58 at 4:12, but Mexico put the last nine points of the game on the board to reach the final.
“I feel like we probably made a lot of people proud by the score that we put up, and we kept them under 68 like we all agreed upon, and just played well together for coming together for the first time in the last 10 days,” said Tarik Black (Grand Rapids Gold/Kansas). “I think we made a lot of people proud by the way we were able to come together and be cohesive.
“As far as the experience itself, it was amazing. Such an honor to represent the USA, in whatever capacity you get the chance to. Not everybody gets the phone call and can carry that mantle, but those of us who were called came into this locker room, we came together. We fell under our coach’s leadership, and we were able to leave here in a way that I feel like everybody can leave here good, high spirited, and proud of themselves and what they put forth.”
The USA assistant coaches were Ty Ellis and Othella Harrington.
The USA will play its third and final window of FIBA World Cup Qualifying on July 1 against Puerto Rico and July 4 versus Cuba.
The 2021-23 FIBA World Cup Qualifying Tournament for the Americas zone features four preliminary round groups, and each group consists of four teams. The top three teams from each group will qualify for the second round.
Following the second round, the three top teams from each group and the top fourth-placed team will qualify for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023.
The USA was drawn into Group D for the first round, and is joined by Cuba, Mexico and Puerto Rico. Group A consists of Argentina, Panama, Paraguay and Venezuela; Group B is made up of Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Uruguay; and Group C consists of Bahamas, Canada, Dominican Republic and U.S. Virgin Islands.
The full 2021-23 FIBA World Cup Qualifying schedule is available here.
For more information on the USA Basketball team fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here: