U.S. tops Cuba to near out early WCup qualifiers

U.S. tops Cuba to near out early WCup qualifiers

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HAVANA — There have been some cheers for “The Celebrity-Spangled Banner” earlier than USA Basketball’s recreation in Cuba on Independence Day.

After which the American citizens celebrated the vacation with a large win.

Xavier Munford scored 24 issues and the U.S. defeated Cuba 87-64 on Monday night time to near the primary spherical of qualifying for subsequent 12 months’s Basketball International Cup — making improvements to to 31-1 all time in opposition to the island country.

“It’s emotional to play at the Fourth of July,” stated Jim Boylen, who coached the U.S. in all 3 of the two-game home windows within the opening qualifying spherical. “It’s emotional to be right here with this workforce of fellows, with USA throughout our chests. It’s a large day. Our nation is 246 years previous as of late and we’re simply grateful for this second in combination.”

Munford used to be 10 for 12 from the ground for the American citizens, who were given 13 issues from Justin Jackson, 12 from John Jenkins — all from 3-point vary — and 10 apiece from Will Davis and Langston Galloway.

“It’s July 4th. No higher feeling than to get a win this night,” Munford stated.

Jordan Bell completed with 8 rebounds and 6 assists for the American citizens, whose spot in the second one spherical of qualifying used to be in the past secured. They’ll take a 5-1 file into the second one spherical, smartly on their method to clinching a place within the International Cup and shifting a large step nearer towards getting USA Basketball certified for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Yoel Cubilla led Cuba (0-6) with 15 issues.

The American citizens will get started the second one spherical of International Cup qualifying on Aug. 25, with the expectancy that the primary matchup will likely be in opposition to Uruguay in Las Vegas. The U.S. may even play Aug. 29, almost definitely at the street and most probably in opposition to Colombia, regardless that FIBA has but to substantiate that because the matchup.

The 2 street wins in this shuttle — the American citizens beat Puerto Rico on Friday — places the U.S. in a major place to qualify for the International Cup. The roster used to be essentially composed of G League avid gamers, as is all the time the case for the American citizens in International Cup qualifying, and Boylen stated this workforce got here in combination temporarily.

“We got here in combination 11 days in the past and our crew used to be centered, our guys had been nice, we labored at the fundamentals, we were given higher on a daily basis and I assumed we performed the correct method,” he stated. “The ball moved, we grew in combination, and we cared for every different.”

The U.S. will likely be grouped with Brazil, Uruguay, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Colombia in the second one spherical. Additionally grouped from the Americas area will likely be Venezuela, Argentina, Panama, Canada, the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas.

Either one of the ones teams will ship 3 groups to the International Cup; the most productive fourth-place crew from both of the ones teams may even pass, with the Americas area sending seven groups to the event that will likely be performed in the summertime of 2023 within the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia.

Cuba led 16-14 after the primary quarter Monday night time. However the American citizens scored 14 issues within the first 2:19 of the second one quarter to take command.

“We misplaced the primary quarter, however I assumed the second one quarter, we answered,” Boylen stated.

A three-pointer via Jackson opened the second one quarter and put the U.S. forward for just right. The lead used to be 49-32 early within the 3rd — finishing what used to be a 35-16 run via the U.S. — and the American citizens remained forward the remainder of the way in which.

“The Cuba crew used to be nice,” Munford stated. “They got here out with a perfect effort. They made us paintings for it. They’d sturdy guys. We performed smartly this night. We accomplished, took care of the ball, ran our offense and performed USA taste of basketball.”

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