USA Basketball overcomes robust take a look at and rallies to beat Montenegro 85-73 on the World Cup

Sports activities Information

The U.S. led 61-55 going into the fourth and tacked some extent on to make it a seven-point edge — its largest of the sport to that time — early within the closing quarter.

U.S. guard Jalen Brunson.
U.S. guard Jalen Brunson (11) pause earlier than the beginning of the primary half of a Basketball World Cup second spherical match towards Montenegro in Manila, Philippines Friday, Aug. 1, 2023. AP Picture/Michael Conroy

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The whole lot had appeared really easy for the U.S. on the Basketball World Cup. Factors had been coming in bunches, closing scores had been blowouts and stress wasn’t an issue.

Till Friday.

  • USA beats Jordan 110-62, awaits second spherical of World Cup

  • The USA is in nice place getting into Spherical 2 of the World Cup. So are many different groups.

If the Individuals had been ready a severe take a look at on the World Cup, they will wait no extra. Going through a 26.5-point underdog in Montenegro in a second-round opener for each groups, they trailed by some extent on the half, didn’t take the lead for good till halfway by way of the third quarter and nonetheless had a contest on their fingers till the ultimate minutes.

They discovered a manner in the long run, successful 85-73 to stay unbeaten and transfer to the brink of the quarterfinals.

“Nice sport for us … These video games are going to occur,” mentioned U.S. coach Steve Kerr.

Anthony Edwards scored all of his team-high 17 factors within the second half for the Individuals (4-0), who acquired 12 from Austin Reaves and 11 from Jaren Jackson Jr. Mikal Bridges and Tyrese Haliburton every added 10 for the U.S., which didn’t draw back till late within the fourth.

“It wasn’t the prettiest sport,” Haliburton mentioned. “However what FIBA video games actually are?”

Nikola Vucevic had 18 factors and 15 rebounds for Montenegro, which led 39-38 on the half. Kendrick Perry scored 14 for Montenegro (2-2).

It was primarily a must-win for Montenegro, and it darn close to pulled off a stunner.

“We performed nicely and we made it as robust for them as we might,” mentioned Vucevic, who performs for the Chicago Bulls. “However in the long run, high quality prevailed.”

The U.S. led 61-55 going into the fourth and tacked some extent on to make it a seven-point edge — its largest of the sport to that time — early within the closing quarter.

Montenegro simply wouldn’t go away. A 3-pointer by Nikola Ivanovic acquired the underdogs inside 64-62 with 7:15 remaining, and the Individuals couldn’t exhale till the ultimate seconds — a far cry from the best way the primary three video games of the match went, with factors coming in bunches and the U.S. successful each sport by no less than 27 factors.

“It’s good for us to get certainly one of these video games,” Reaves mentioned.

Montenegro had a sport plan and labored it almost to perfection: Sluggish the Individuals down by any means obligatory — “our solely hope,” Vucevic mentioned. That included well-timed substitutions, sprinting again on protection, no matter it took.

The Individuals know they’ll see extra of that going ahead.

“We’ve acquired to get stops and get rebounds so we are able to’t go towards a set protection each time,” Edwards mentioned. “In the event that they set their protection, they’re going to pack the paint, load up and make us shoot. And I shot horrible from the skin at present. I don’t know what’s occurring however I’ll determine it out.”

He figured it out solely as soon as from lengthy vary Friday, however it was an enormous second. Edwards’ solely 3-pointer got here with 6:07 left, placing the U.S. up 69-62. It stayed a two-possession sport, no less than, for a lot of the rest of the competition.

“A small nation like Montenegro, we performed tonight possibly top-of-the-line video games ever,” Montenegro coach Bosko Radovic mentioned. “We performed such staff.”


USA: Kessler acquired earlier-than-usual minutes, largely due to the success Montenegro’s massive entrance line within the paint. Cam Johnson was not in Friday’s rotation. … Paolo Banchero performed with a wrap on his proper thumb, which he harm on a move within the Greece sport.

Montenegro: Earlier than Friday, Montenegro had solely a 4-4 document this summer season — 2-1 on the World Cup, 2-3 in exhibitions main as much as the match. … Perry is a Florida native, somebody who performed 4 years of faculty basketball at Youngstown State (averaging 16.2 factors) and briefly had time within the G League earlier than spending the final decade or so in numerous worldwide leagues.

Recreation 1

Friday marked the primary time the U.S. performed the nationwide staff at the moment generally known as Montenegro on the senior males’s degree. The U.S. beat the previous Yugoslavia — made up of Serbia and Montenegro — within the gold-medal sport on the 1996 Olympics.

Sluggish begin

As soon as once more, the U.S. didn’t come out flying within the opening minutes. The Individuals acquired down 14-4 to New Zealand and 6-2 to Greece to open these video games, and so they had been in a fast 11-4 gap on Friday.

USA: Play Lithuania on Sunday.

Montenegro: Play Greece on Sunday.