USA Basketball U18 Men Outgun Mexico 114-38, Earn U19 Worlds Berth
June 27, 2010 - San Antonio, Texas
Like its World Cup team today, Mexico (0-2) was outmatched by a stronger squad in the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship as the USA U18 National Team (2-0) dominated the whole game for a 114-38 win over its neighbors to the south on Sunday evening in San Antonio, Texas.
With the win the U.S. is assured of a spot in the medal semifinals and in the process, qualified for the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship in Latvia. Earlier in the day, Canada, Argentina and Brazil also qualified for the U19 Worlds.
"It's very special, very special (to have qualified)," said USA and University of Oklahoma head coach Jeff Capel. "It's one of the goals we wanted to accomplish, but it's not the end goal for this group."
The U.S. squad plays Argentina (2-0) in the final preliminary game on Monday, at 7:00 p.m. (CDT).
Seven USA players scored in double figures. Austin Rivers (Winter Park H.S./ Winter Park, Fla.), the son of Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers, scored 16 points, on 5-of-8 shooting from the field. Rivers, whose father was in attendance, also hit 3-of-5 in the 3-point range. Trevor Cooney (Sanford H.S. / Wilmington, Del.) had a 16-point game, sinking 6-of-12 from the field and 2-of-3 beyond the arc.
Quincy Miller (Quality Education Academy/Winston-Salem, N.C.) dropped in 15 points, grabbed six rebounds, and blocked three shots.
Jereme Richmond (Waukegan H.S./ Waukegan, Ill.) produced a double-double, with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Richmond, who has signed a National Letter of Intent with Illinois, shot 6-of-8 from the field and had four assists. Kyrie Irving (St. Patrick's H.S./ Elizabeth, N.J.), who is headed to Duke, shot 6-of-7, scored 14 points, and dished out four assists.
Also scoring in double figures were Josh Hairston (Montrose Christian School, Md./ Fredericksburg, Va.), a Duke signee who scored 11 points; and LeBryan Nash of (Lincoln H.S. / Dallas, Texas) with 10.
It was the USA's show throughout Sunday night. In the opening period, USA racked up a 36-6 lead, and widened the gap to 61-13 at halftime. USA shot 67 percent (26-39 FGs) in the half, and limited Mexico to 14 percent (5-36 FGs). The rebounding margin in the half was 31-12. The second half was more of the same, as USA outscored Mexico 53-25.
"Well, it's tough (staying focused in a game like that)," said Capel. "I thought our guys showed some pretty good maturity in doing it. I thought they came out with the right mindset. We just had to come take care of business. We know we'll have a tougher challenge tomorrow against Argentina, but I thought we did some good things today. Good things to get prepared for Argentina."
The highest scoring player for Mexico was Luis Quintero with seven points. Rafael Gonzalez and Rafael Buelna each scored six points.
USA shot 61.8 percent (47-76 FGs) and limited Mexico to 21.2 percent (14-66 FGs). In 3-point range, USA hit 41.7 percent (10-24 3pt FGs) to 22.6 percent (7-31 3pt FGs) for Mexico. There was a huge gap in rebounding, with USA pulling down 58 rebounds, and Mexico 19.
"We know (Argentina) is going to be a lot more competitive than these last two games," said Rivers. "We know they're a very good team and we have to get ready for their physicality. They set a lot of screens and they can shoot the ball so we'll be ready. We'll be ready, but it's going to be a good game."
All four teams that won today were assured of a berth in the semifinals here in San Antonio, and punched their tickets to Latvia for the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship. In today's other Group B contest, Argentina (2-0) ran past the U.S. Virgin Islands (0-2) 82-50 in front of their countryman and 2004 Olympic gold medalist Manu Ginobli. In Group A, Canada (2-0) collected a 100-83 win over Puerto Rico (0-2), while Brazil (2-0) pulled away in the final five minutes to stay undefeated with a tough 71-64 victory over South American rival Uruguay (0-2).
The 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship runs through June 30 at Bill Greehey Arena on the St. Mary's University campus. Single-day tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the door.
The U.S. will close preliminary play against South American rivals and also undefeated Argentina on June 28 at 7:00 p.m. (all times listed are local, CDT). The semifinals are slated for June 29, and the finals will be held June 30.
Georgia Tech head coach Paul Hewitt and University at Buffalo head coach Reggie Witherspoon are serving as assistant coaches for the 2010 USA U18 National Team.
Players eligible for this competition must have been born on or after Jan. 1, 1992.