Possessing too much athleticism, too much depth and too much scoring power, the United States won its round-of-16 game against Mali, 117-69, on Wednesday in the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup in Cairo, Egypt.
The Americans, in pursuit of their third straight U19 championship, improved to 4-0 in the tournament, playing for Kentucky coach John Calipari. Team USA advanced to Friday’s quarterfinals where it will take on Germany (3-1) at 3:15 p.m. Germany advanced with a 72-65 victory Wednesday over New Zealand and UK player Tai Wynyard.
For the second consecutive game, incoming UK freshman PJ Washington paced the U.S. with 20 points.
“I just felt like I had to be a little bit aggressive.” said Washington, who also contributed eight rebounds and three assists. “I felt like I could get by my man every time, so I just tried to do that and make plays for my team.”
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UK freshman Hamidou Diallo bounced back from a tough game Tuesday by scoring 14 points on Wednesday for the U.S.
“We’re playing kind of with units,” Calipari said. “When we started the game that group didn’t have the intensity or fight, they were just playing. Well, Mali plays really hard. They’ve got a couple of really good players and then after that they’re not as good. But, they play hard so they can make you look bad. So, then we went to the other group and that group went in and played out of their minds, so I left them in. They got us up 20, so they stayed in.
“But then in the second half that group that I started played well and so I left them in. I’m not sure I want to play groups like this, but they are getting to learn to play together pretty well and maybe it’s six or seven in a group, then I play the other guys and see how they are and give them some minutes.”
In addition to Washington and Diallo, five U.S. players scored in double figures. Brandon McCoy (UNLV) had 19 points and 13 rebounds. High schoolers Louis King and Cameron Reddish and Oregon’s Payton Pritchard had 11 points apiece. Purdue’s Carsen Edwards added 10.
The U.S. never trailed but the score was tight early. The U.S. put together a 17-1 run to close the first quarter, extending a 13-9 lead to 30-10. At halftime it was 50-31.
“I feel like when we want to play defense we can lock down anybody for a number of possessions in a row and I felt like we did that a little bit tonight,” Washington said. “We’ve got to show that every time down.”
Mali tightened the score to 56-44 in the third quarter, but the U.S. had too much firepower. Pouring in 41 points in the final 10 minutes, the USA pulled away.
See highlights of Wednesday’s game below:
Wynyard’s New Zealand bows out
UK sophomore Tai Wynyard led New Zealand with 14 points and nine rebounds, but Germany won 72-65.
New Zealand was eliminated from medal contention but will continue play in the consolation bracket, facing Mali on Friday.
See highlights of Wednesday’s game below:
FIBA U19 World Cup
What: Sixteen-country basketball tournament
When: Saturday through July 9
Where: Cairo, Egypt
Team USA schedule
All times EDT
July 1: USA 108, Iran 48
July 2: USA 109, Angola 68
July 3: Off
July 4: USA 98, Italy 65
July 5: USA 117, Mali 69
July 6: Off
July 7: USA vs. Germany, 3:15 p.m. EDT
July 8: Semifinals (Times TBA)
July 9: Gold medal game, 12:30 p.m.; Bronze medal game, 10 a.m.
Wednesday’s round-of-16 scores
Spain 70, Iran 50
Lithuania 110, South Korea 63
France 84, Puerto Rico 66
Germany 72, New Zealand 65
Argentina 72, Egypt 67
United States 117, Mali 69
Canada 87, Angola 65
Italy 57, Japan 55
Friday’s quarterfinal schedule
(Games listed in bracketed order; All times EDT)
France vs. Canada, 12:45 p.m.
USA vs. Germany, 3:15 p.m.
Argentina vs. Spain, 10:15 a.m.
Lithuania vs. Italy, 7:45 a.m.
4 Payton Pritchard, 6-2, G (Oregon)
5 Immanuel Quickley, 6-3, G (High school)
6 Carsen Edwards, 6-0, G (Purdue)
7 Cameron Reddish, 6-7, G (High school)
8 Hamidou Diallo, 6-5, G (Kentucky)
9 Josh Okogie, 6-4, G (Georgia Tech)
10 Kevin Huerter, 6-6, F (Maryland)
11 Louis King, 6-8, F (High school)
12 Austin Wiley, 6-9, C (Auburn)
13 Romeo Langford, 6-6, G (High school)
14 PJ Washington, 6-8, F (Kentucky)
15 Brandon McCoy, 6-11, F/C (UNLV)