The last thing the US Team wanted against host Uruguay was a slow start but that’s what happened. Down 20-11 after the first quarter the US team didn’t panic and eventually won a hard fought game, 74-66.
Wendall Williams Jr. led the US Team with 16 points and 5 rebounds. Reggie Hearn added 15 points as the Americans moved to 2-0 in Pool Play. Uruguay was led by big man Esteban Batista. Despite poor free throw shooting (2-9), Batista scored 22 points and grabbed 14 rebounds.
Uruguay jumped out to a 10-2 lead and led by 9 after the first quarter.
We were slow to the ball, but I want to give Uruguay credit too. It was a home game, and they were ready and came out and attacked us. Thankfully, I think we responded coming off the bench. – Coach Jeff Van Gundy
The US Team fought back in the second quarter. The responded with a 23 point quarter that had them up by 2 at the half.
In the third, the US Team pushed the lead up to 6 after a Kendall Marshall basket but Uruguay wouldn’t fold. A 10-1 run gave Uruguay a 3 point lead. The rest of the quarter went back and forth and ended tied at 50.
After exchanging baskets early in the fourth, the US Team took the lead for good Hearn 3 pointer. The Americans hit four 3’s in the 4th quarter including two from Larry Drew II.
Next up for the US Team is the Dominican Republic. Coach Van Gundy won’t be looking past them.
I have such a respect for them because I think they are the hardest playing team that I’ve seen in FIBA basketball. Each and every guy is a tremendous competitor. They have great continuity and a brotherhood that, if you’re not ready for it, they are going to take it right at you. We are going to have to be more ready than we were tonight to start the game.