Coach John Calipari expressed concern Saturday about how his team might respond to a deflating loss to Canada in the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup.
The stunning loss to America’s neighbors to the north ended Team USA’s 23-game winning streak in U19 World Cup play dating to 2011 and relegated the United States to Sunday’s bronze medal game.
“It’s going to be a hard one, as a staff and all of us,” the University of Kentucky head coach said after Saturday’s semifinal defeat. “You move on to the next one. In this kind of environment, you don’t even get a day to grieve. You just have to move on. So, we’ll go back and see if we can get something going.”
It didn’t take the U.S. long to do just that on Sunday afternoon in Cairo, Egypt. Team USA outscored Spain 24-8 in the first quarter on its way to a 96-72 victory and the bronze medal.
Canada defeated Italy later Sunday to win the gold medal.
Four players scored in double figures for Team USA on Sunday. Carsen Edwards (Purdue) led the way with 13 points. Payton Pritchard (Oregon) added 12, and UK recruiting targets Immanuel Quickley and Cameron Reddish scored 11 and 10, respectively.
UK freshmen Hamidou Diallo and PJ Washington scored nine and six points. Diallo added four rebounds and two assists in 15 minutes of action. Washington’s 14 minutes also included an assist and a steal.
“To be able to bounce back and play the way they did from start to finish shows me a lot about them,” Calipari said of winning the bronze. “We were all still really disappointed. We came here to not only play for the gold, but win the gold, and to play like we did and have Canada come out and play so well, it was just disappointing that we couldn’t get it done. To come back today and play and win the bronze, it’s a good way to end.”
The United States concluded World Cup play with a 6-1 record, its only defeat the 99-87 stunner against the Canadians.
The U.S. put a choke hold on Spain on both ends of the court Sunday. The Americans made 30 of 56 shots from the field (53.6 percent), including 12-for-19 (63.2 percent) from three-point distance. The U.S. outrebounded Spain 51-35 and limited the Spaniards to 28-for-82 shooting (34.2 percent).
The United States had no trouble putting away Spain despite committing 25 turnovers and missing 13 foul shots (24-for-37).
Wynyard strong again
Kentucky’s Tai Wynyard led New Zealand to an 11th-place finish in the 16-team World Cup on Sunday.
Wynyard totaled 17 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and two blocks as New Zealand defeated Egypt 85-69.
For the tournament, Wynyard averaged 14.3 points and 9.3 rebounds.
Canada wins gold
Kentucky recruiting target R.J. Barrett, the No. 1 prospect in the class of 2019, led Canada to its first ever U19 gold medal with a 79-60 victory over Italy in Sunday’s championship game.
Barrett led Canada with a game-high 18 points, and 12 rebounds.
Barrett was named the tournament MVP, headlining the “All-Star Five” that also included Lorenzo Bucarelli (Italy), Abu Kigab (Canada), Tommaso Oxilia (Italy) and Payton Pritchard (USA).
FIBA U19 World Cup
Team USA results:
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 81, Germany 59
July 8: Canada 99, USA 87
July 9: Bronze medal game: USA 96, Spain 72
9. Puerto Rico
11. New Zealand