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Articles

USA recovered from misstep and swept Cuba - Jul 1, 2018


POSTED BY:
GREG
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Xavier
Munford
It took 10 minutes for the United States to be back on their game, but once they did, Cuba could not catch their breath.

The United States National Team closed with force the first phase of the Qualifiers towards the FIBA Basketball Word Cup 2019 with a huge win, 93-62, against Cuba in a game held this Sunday in Havana. It was the first visit by the United States team to the capital of the largest of the Antilles in 27 years.

The United States closed the first round as leader of Group C with a 5-1 record, while Cuba (0-6) went out without any wins in a section they shared with Puerto Rico and Mexico.

Six US players scored double-digit points, with Xavier Munford (188-G-92, college: Rhode Island) being the best with 16 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists. Reggie Hearn (193-G-91, college: Northwestern) also had 16 points, while David Stockton (180-PG-91, college: Gonzaga) (13 points), Trey McKinney-Jones (198-G-90, college: Miami, FL) (10), and Marcus Thornton (193-G-87, college: LSU) (10) contributed 33 points coming in from the bench. The United States recovered their long-shot by scoring 15-29 three-pointers.

On Cuba's side, Karel Guzman (188-F-95) was the best player with 16 points, while Javier Justiz (205-C-92, agency: Pro Sports) only scored 12 points and had 9 rebounds. Jasiel Rivero (204-C-93, agency: Pro Sports) only scored 7 points. The Cubans shot a poor 33.3% in court, including 5-3 three-pointers.

Now the United States have their eyes on the second phase of the Qualifiers that starts next September. On this round, the Americans will have games in Argentina, Uruguay, and Panama -the ones that qualified from Group A.

At the start, Cuba went head-to-head against the United States, but could only match forces on the first quarter. A 17-0 run at the start of the second quarter confirmed the dominance of the visiting team that prevented any Carribean reaction. The United States limited Cuba to only 18 points between the second and third quarter, after allowing them 28 points in the first part of the game.

The Cubans started with force in the first quarter thanks to an efficient offence of 11 points by Guzman. They protected the ball while barely losing it in the first 10 minutes of the game.

Meanwhile, the United States were to able to flow their offense with only one assist, and they committed eight personal fouls. Cuba took the first quarter, 28-24.

The visiting team tightened their game for the second quarter. By the hands of Munford, Hearn, Alex Caruso, and Thornton, the United States started the quarter with a 17-0 advantage that ended with a three-pointer by Thornton in a getaway, 41-28, with 5:14 on the clock.

Cuba did not allow the visiting team to increase their leadership and with a two-pointer by Yuniskel Molina and a three-pointer by Orestes Torres, they got closer, 45-37, with 2:20 left to play.

The Caribbean squad tried varying the defense, including a 2-3 zone that the United States were able to counter. The United States closed the quarter with five consecutive points to go backstage, 50-37.

In the third quarter, the United States stayed in control and did not give an inch to the Cubans. Long distance shots by Munford and Hearn placed the hostilites, 62-40, with 6:03 left to play.

The Americans continued with their pressure on both sides of the court limiting Cuba's opportunities, whose offense was nonexistent. The United States devoted their time to increase their dominance with three-pointers by Stockton, a steal and scored in transition, and another distance shot from McKinney left the visitors in a comfortable place, 74-46, after 30 minutes.

The fourth quarter was a mere transaction for a United States National Team that seek their ticket to defend their world title on China 2019.

Source: FIBA   




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