USA’s B-Team Beats Off The Virgin Islands Men’s Team 90-62 Saturday To Earn A Berth In The 2017 AmeriCup Championships
TRYING SEMIFINAL: Mixed emotions as the United States defeated the Virgin Islands 90-62 in the 2017 Americup Championships in Argentina. The American team proper was gracious and dignified in victory. Here Xavier Munford drives to the hoop against the hometown team.
BUENOS AIRES — They arrived as favorites, and they met everyone’s expectations. Only they really weren’t our guys!
The United States defeated Virgin Islands, 90-62, and will play in the FIBA AmeriCup 2017 Final in Cordoba, Argentina.
“I thought the Virgin Islands was a bit decimated by injuries,” USA’s Head Coach Jeff Van Gundy said. “Our energy was a little low, but our bench played very well. It has been the greatest strength of our team. Xavier Munford here had a great, great night. I’m very happy for him.”
Once again, their strong defense allowed them to compensate their low effectiveness in outside throws. Fast attacks, short possessions and making the most out of the rivals’ errors were the victory’s convincing tactics.
Munford, with 20 points and 10 rebounds, was the game’s outstanding player.
“Just like coach said, we started out a little slow with our defensive energy,” Munford said. “That’s something we pride ourselves in since training camp. But, tomorrow, we know the task. and we’re going to come ready to compete for a gold medal.”
Victor’s triple at the beginning of the game was the most satisfactory moment for the Virgin Islands’ squad. From that point onwards, the game belonged to the United States.
A quick 12-0 in only 4-minutes gave USA a first solid advantage thanks to a defensive intensity that allowed them to run the court comfortably and profit from their rivals’ losses.
With Marshall as a key figure, Van Gundy’s team made 12 more before confidently leaving to the short break (22-10).
“There is a funny dynamic, because, I think, our second unit has been doing a great job of coming in and bringing energy,” Van Gundy said. “Regardless of what the score is, whenever we come in, I’m a firm believer of offense from defense. One of the things I think we’ve been doing well as a whole is getting stops, getting rebounds and pushing the break, even when we are not scoring in the half court. But yeah, our half court offense is starting to come along better, as well.”
The roster’s extension gave United States the possibility of maintaining their strength in the defense. Although they didn’t have high percentages in their outside shooting, during the first 4 minutes of the game the marker displayed a 16-point advantage (30-14). Coming in from the bench, Munford had quality minutes in the offense.
The Virgin Islands couldn’t overpower the strong defense that forced them to throw mid-distance, where their percentages are significantly lower.
Puerto Rico-native Hodge played with restraint, the team was impacted by the fact —to the point of being 22 points below (44-22). The difference in 17 points when the first half was over (44-27) demonstrated the difference between both teams out in the court.
When the second half began, Team USA went out with the solid objective of determining the game. They didn’t rest in the defense, and in 3-minutes they had already reclaimed their 22-point distance (54-32).
Warney in the paint along Hearn and Williams II in the perimeter were the outstanding players in a team that kept constantly rotating their players.
With 20 points to their favor, United States stepped on the court to play the last quarter, already knowing that their next stop would be the tournament’s finale (62-42).
With the game to their favor, the rotations started to appear and the end was predictable. Virgin Islands tried it all, but things were complicated, especially when they tried to attack.
With the same formula they used in Montevideo, and true to their coach’s idea of prioritizing in the defense, the winners at a point distanced themselves by 30 points (87-57), which also raised their percentages in outside throws.
The USA won and took their first step towards their goal of taking home this first edition of the FIBA AmeriCup.
The American team defeated Argentina 81-76 on Sunday night to win the 2017 FIBA AmeriCup Championships.