17 February, 2020
23 February, 2021
18 Brandon Sam Bass (USA)
Game Report
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Team USA's victory over Mexico seals their undefeated stint in FIBA AmeriCup Qualifiers

SAN JUAN (Puerto Rico) - After struggling with rust vs. the Bahamas, the United States came out with vengeance on Saturday, pummeling Mexico from tip to finish to win 96-75.

Ra’Shad James (21 points on 6-of-8 shooting) and Brandon Bass (12 points on 6-of-7 shooting) led the way for the undefeated club. Former NBA All-Stars Joe Johnson and Isaiah Thomas combined for 20 points, while William Davis also scored in double figures.
This game was never truly close for multiple reasons, but the biggest were that the United States limited their live ball turnovers and defended the 3-point line successfully.

Mexico is at its best when their guards are able to pressure opposing ball handlers and create miscues into easy points. While the United States did cough up the ball 12 times, a player with the skill level of Thomas won’t be fearful of pressure as a lead ball handler.

Secondly, Mexico is difficult to beat when they are knocking down shots from the perimeter. That was not the case vs. the USA as they shot just 19 percent from beyond the arc and only 37.5 percent from the field. Not having Paul Stoll in the lineup turned out to be a huge loss, especially in terms of giving Jose Estrada (15 points) and others more opportunities to find open looks.

Overall, though, the United States just has more talent than any roster in their group. This stands true for any team they’ve played but it’s even more obvious with the bunch they put together for this final window.

Estrada and Edgar Garibay (19 points) played well for Mexico, but the Bahamas game on Friday proved that is not enough vs. the USA -- even when they have an off night.

Team USA must’ve had that shaky opening game on their minds heading into today’s matchup as they scored a blistering 58 points in the opening two quarters. They were making plays in transition consistently, knocked down nine 3’s and found an excellent spark from James.

While the offense was in fine form, the club also buckled down on defense, limiting Estrada to 25 percent shooting and forcing five early turnovers. Overall, after Mexico opened the game with a 3-0 lead, the USA never looked back.

Team USA completed the AmeriCup qualifiers by topping Group D and winning all six games by at least 13 points. Meanwhile, Mexico (2-4) lost both duels during this final window and will need to hope for a Bahamas loss to Puerto Rico later today in order to book their ticket into the 2022 AmeriCup.