20 November, 2017
26 February, 2019
21 Lucas Faggiano (ARG), 6 Scotty Hopson (USA)
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Hearn: USA-Argentina, the rubber match

Greensboro, NC (U.S.) – When the United States takes on Argentina Monday night in Greensboro, the only thing at stake will be the honor of being top of the group.

Coming into the game with identical 9-2 records, both countries have already qualified for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup, achieving that in the last window. But that won't make the game any less competitive.

"It’s kind of the rubber match," explained Reggie Hearn, who has played in 5 of 6 WCQ windows for the Americans. "We beat them once in the AmeriCup (in 2017) and then they beat us down there in Argentina in the last window. So, we’re looking to finish against them 2-1 in this stretch. Obviously, it’ll help us to be here on our home court; we’ll draw some support from the crowd just like they did in Argentina."

Reggie Hearn (Photo by Steve Goldberg/SCS Media)

At the other end of the spectrum from Hearn is Josh Adams who played his first game for the U.S. against Panama.

"I’ve dreamed about playing for Team USA my entire life and I never thought I’d have the opportunity to be here. And then playing for a great staff in coach Van Gundy, coach Thompson, coach Fox and all the guys that are here is truly a blessing.

It’s extremely important, especially when you’ve got the No. 1 spot at stake. As USA Basketball, you always want to be No. 1. So, that’s something to fight for against one of the best clubs in the world. - Josh Adams, USA

  While USA are coming off a solid 111-80 thumping of Panama last Friday, Argentina are looking to rebound from an 87-86 overtime loss to Puerto Rico.

"Argentina has a great program no matter who they bring in," stated USA coach Jeff Van Gundy. "They’re big, they shoot, they pass, and they play exceptionally hard. (Lucio) Redivo and (Marcos) Delia and (Nicolás ) Brussino are all very accomplished FIBA players, and Argentina has an unbelievable reservoir of talent, depth and shooting. So, the names change, but the way they play stays the same." 

Van Gundy also knows what his team needs to do to be successful against Argentina this time out.

"They physicality just sort of manhandled us and at the end of the day I think we subconsciously didn’t compete at the same level as they did. We had a hard time scoring. They’re so big, and they’re so tough and well coached, we have to score the ball more efficiently than we did in the game down there."

Josh Adams (Photo by Steve Goldberg/SCS Media)

Hearn is sharing his experience with his teammates who will be seeing Argentina for the first time.

"I’m just trying to let the guys know what I know about the players that we’ll be seeing tomorrow. I’ve already talked to a couple of the guys who are going to have some of the tougher match-ups to just let them know what I’ve seen. They can hear it from coach and that’s one thing, but to hear it from a player who’s played against Argentina, I think could have a little bit more of an effect."

"I think we have a good game plan heading in."