After their first two games of group play in the 2021 FIBA U19 World Cup, the United States are undefeated. The Americans beat Mali 100-52 on Sunday and opened their tournament with an 83-54 victory over Turkey on Saturday. Their final, and most likely toughest, game of group play is against Australia at 12:30 p.m. CT on Tuesday (that’s today!) streaming live on YouTube.
Wisconsin Badgers sophomore, and La Crosse native, Jonathan Davis got the start in Team USA’s opening game but struggled shooting the ball in 17 minutes of action. Davis was 0-for-6 (0-for-4 from three) from the field and had one rebound and one assist. Purdue’s Jaden Ivey had a standout performance against Turkey, scoring 21 points, hauling in three rebounds and swiping four steals.
“Depth is our strength, you see these teams and you watch them, and their five guys are as good as ours, but we have 12 of them and we’ve got to use that to our advantage,” said head coach Jamie Dixon after the opening win. “So, that’s got to be our mentality and we’ve got to use that and when guys aren’t in foul trouble, or not playing great, we’ve got options and opportunities and we can keep them fresh.”
In game two, Davis acquitted himself much better, scoring seven points (2-of-6 from the field, 1-of-2 from deep) grabbing four rebounds, dishing out two assists and securing two steals. After a tight first quarter that only saw the Americans up 29-23, Team USA went on a 13-0 run in the second quarter that was kicked off by Davis draining a three and then getting three the old fashioned way on the next possession. Team USA was up 55-36 at halftime and held Mali to only 16 total points in the second half on their way to a rout.
“I thought we did a great job,” stated Dixon. “There were only a few questionable shots, and it was really unselfish all the way through and that’s what we’ve been preaching.”