Kentucky freshmen Hamidou Diallo and PJ Washington were key contributors toward a balanced attack Sunday as the United States defeated Angola 109-68 in the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup in Cairo.
Team USA, led by Kentucky head coach John Calipari, improved to 2-0 in group play and has topped 100 points in both games. The Americans are looking for their third straight win the tournament.
“I thought we made some strides. We’re defending a little bit better, we still have to talk more,” Calipari said. “All I’m trying to get them to do is play with great pace and then if it’s not there, run something. You know, just make a play.
“I keep telling them, ‘Let’s play against ourselves, let’s not worry who’s out there. Let’s just keep seeing if we can execute better, if we can concentrate more, if we can talk more, so by the end of this we’re in pretty good shape and we’ll be a pretty good team.’”
Diallo scored 15 points on 6-for-11 shooting and contributed three rebounds and three steals. Washington finished with 11 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Georgia Tech’s Josh Okogie and Auburn’s Austin Wiley led the United States with 17 and 16 points respectively, topping seven players in double figures.
UK recruiting target Immanuel Quickley, who is from Bel Air, Md., added 12 points.
“You just want to not play against an opponent, but kind of go against yourself,” Quickley said of the team’s second blowout victory. “Everybody is not as talented as us. They’re good teams but not as talented, so you just want to go against yourself to get better. … As long as we defend, the offense will take care of itself. If we defend each and every possession, we’ll be good.”
The World Cup entered the second of three days of group play on Sunday. Team USA is part of Group D along with Iran, Angola and Italy. Teams will be seeded for the tournament’s round of 16 based on their performance in group play.
After a day off Monday, the U.S. will wrap up group play against Italy on Tuesday.
France 80, New Zealand 69: Kentucky sophomore Tai Wynyard had 12 points and five rebounds as New Zealand dropped to 1-1 in pool play after a loss to the European champions.
“We played some great basketball and had a very good first half and maybe shocked them a little with our physical play,” Coach Daryl Cartwright said. “Coming down the stretch we didn’t quite execute as we might have liked and France made some big shots. The score ballooned out with a soft turnover at the end and a couple of fouls. We had belief we could knock them over and we gave them a big scare, so for us there was a lot to take out of the game and a belief if that we can compete with the best from Europe then we can do the same against Argentina in our next match.”
FIBA U19 World Cup
What: Sixteen-country basketball tournament
When: 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: Italy, 10:30 a.m.
July 5: Round of 16 (Times TBA)
July 6: Off
July 7: Quarterfinals (Times TBA)
July 8: Semifinals (Times TBA)
July 9: Gold medal game, 12:30 p.m.; Bronze medal game, 10 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)