USA Basketball beats Colombia in World Cup qualifiers 95-77
BARRANQUILLA – USA Basketball is about to qualify for next year’s World Championship.
John Jenkins scored 26 points and the US defeated Colombia 95-77 in a second-round qualifier on Monday night. The win put the Americans in a position to secure a place at the World Cup, which will be held in the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia a year from now when the next window of games takes place in mid-November.
Langston Galloway and DaQuan Jeffries each scored 14 points for USA, who gave up the game’s opening basket, then scored the next 12 points and were never down again.
“Coming out with this win is great for us,” Jenkins said. “We are very excited.”
Jenkins has been outstanding in this two-game window for the USA, including the Americans’ 105-71 win over Uruguay on Thursday in Las Vegas. His numbers in those games: 48 points on 17-to-25 shooting – a staggering 14-to-21 from 3-point range.
He was 8 of 14 from beyond the arc on Monday, the last three of those 3s coming in the final minutes of the fourth as the US pulled out.
“His leadership was the biggest part of it,” said US coach Jim Boylen. “He loves to play in the streets. He loves to play in hostile places. And he’s in great shape. He came in great shape. He believes in USA basketball. He believes in what we do. He’s elite at following a game plan and he’s a seasoned player who enjoys wearing that US uniform.”
It would take nothing short of a total collapse for the US not to qualify for the World Cup. The Americans are in a group of six teams in this qualifying round, and the top three teams in the group are guaranteed places in next year’s 32-nation field.
The USA are two games ahead of Brazil, Mexico and Uruguay (all 5-3) in Group F, 7-1. Puerto Rico is 4-4 and Colombia 3-5. There are only four qualifiers left for each team.
A few spurts late in the quarter proved crucial for the US
The Americans beat Colombia 8-2 in the final minute of the second quarter, converting a seven-point lead into a 45-32 lead at the break. And in the third round, a 14-6 run late in the period gave USA a 70-50 lead into the final 10 minutes of the game.
“We just kept going, kept fighting, kept playing and shots were being fired,” Jenkins said.
USA: The USA were 2:22 of 80 minutes back in the two games of this qualifying period, the other clash being Thursday’s 105-71 win over Uruguay in Las Vegas. … The Americans have won their last six qualifiers by an average of 20.3 points. … Eric Mika finished the tournament as the team’s best with seven points and nine rebounds.
Colombia: Braian Angola had a team high with 18 points. … The hosts were outplayed 51-12 from 3-point range.
In other Group F qualifiers on Monday, Mexico beat Brazil 82-72 and Uruguay defeated Puerto Rico 78-70.
In Group E – the other group of six teams in FIBA Americas Region qualifiers – Canada remains in control. The Canadians rolled past Panama on Monday evening with 106:50. Venezuela defeated the Dominican Republic 76-72 and Argentina defeated the Bahamas 95-77.
Canada is 8-0, Venezuela 7-1 and Argentina 6-2, meaning these nations have the inside lane for the top three spots in this group and a World Cup spot. The Dominican Republic is now 5-3, and Panama and the Bahamas are both 2-6.
In addition to the Philippines and Japan, who have qualified as host countries, a number of places in the field of 32 teams for the World Cup have been secured in recent days. FIBA, the basketball governing body, said Finland, Lebanon, Ivory Coast and New Zealand are now also officially in next year’s tournament.
USA: Hosts Brazil on Nov. 11, Venue TBA.
Colombia: Faces Puerto Rico on November 11th.
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