Friday, June 24, 2011

FIBA Americas Cup 2011 -- USA Over Costa Rico, Advances to Medal Round

USA 118 - Costa Rico 46
Team USA held Team Costa Rico scoreless through the first period, 19-0 and continued their O'fer defensive run nearly eight minutes into the second period, taking the score to 35-0 before the Costa Ricans broke through with a two point goal. As suggested by the USA Basketball recap, by that time the game was well in hand, as the USA increased their lead to 52, 59-7 through the end of the second period. Though Costa Rico made the second half more competitive, losing the last two periods by a combined 20 points (59-39), it is doubtful that Coach Showalter let the first five-to-seven players in his rotation off the bench for that last 20 minutes. Four players, Justin Jackson (20), Aaron Gordon (23), Jon Williams (23) and Dom Collier (23) logged 20 or more minutes even as seven players scored 10 or more points. Guard Connor Frankcamp, as indicated by his post game comments, broke out of his shooting slump to pace Team USA with 22 points on 10-13 (8-8, 2-5) shooting. Aaron Gordon (18 points & 18 rebounds) and Theo Pinson (11 points & 10 rebounds) recorded double-doubles, Gordon was one assist and two blocks short of a quadruple-double. Costa Rico's Milton Jimenez Barrantes paced all scorers with 28 points on 10-29 (9-26, 1-3) from the floor and 7-11 from the line. Barrantes' 28 points was 60.9% of Costa Rico's scoring in the game. Crunching the game boxscore to develop some possession-based stats for the game...

Costa Rico0.5023.816.116.317.5

Team USA continues to push the pace yet post extremely efficient offensive (1.28 ppp) and defensive (0.50 ppp) point-per-possession rates. Evenly distributed playing time no doubt contributed to evenly distributed shot percentages and possession rates among the five on the court. Five players took 20% or more of the available shots when they were on the court, while nine were credited with 20% or more of the possessions while they were playing.

The team continues to dominate on the boards, gathering half of their misses to extend team possession. Okafor and particularly (for this game) Gordon and Parker(!) asserted themselves under the basket at both ends of the floor, while Pinson had a great night on the defensive end of the floor.

Everyone Out of the Pool
Group A & B standings going into action Thursday...

Group A Group B
Puerto Rico20USA20
Mexico02Costa Rico02

Team USA and Team Puerto Rico had clinched spots in the Medal Round with wins on Wednesday. Canada, Chile, Argentina and Brazil, knotted at 1-1 in their respective groups, had work to do on Thursday. Canada needed a win to clinch their spot in the Medal Round as they had already beaten Chile (on Monday). A loss to host Mexico would have knotted the Group A standings for the last three teams at 1-3, and opened the door for Team Chile, had they beaten Puerto Rico (admittedly not likely) to advance. A three way 1-2 tie in Group A would leave the last Group A spot in the Medal Round hanging on points and winning margins. Team Canada took control with a decisive 32 point win over Team Mexico 88-56. The Canadians will meet Team USA Friday at 6:00pm (ET) in the first semi-final game of the Medal Round. Resolution of the final standings in Group B came down to a shootout between Argentina and Brazil. Team Costa Rico, 0-2 with a combined margin of -141 through two games was slated to face Team USA in the 2:00pm game Thursday, with the outcome never in doubt. The winner of the Argentina-Brazil game at 6:00pm would advance as the second team out of Group B. The Argentines downed the Brazilians by eight, 85-77, and will face Team Puerto Rico at 9:00pm (ET) in the second semi-final game of the Medal Round. The final Pool standings...

Group A Group B
Puerto Rico30USA30
Mexico03Costa Rico03

Chile, Mexico, Brazil and Costa Rico will play two Classification Round games to determine places #5-#8. Team Chile will play Team Costa Rico (most likely at 2:00pm ET) Friday, followed by Team Brazil and host Mexico (at 4:00pm ET). The two semi-final medal round games will follow after the Classification games.

Who's Got Next?
The USA's U16 team will face Team Canada in the first semi-final Medal Round game Friday at 6:00pm. The Canadians logged a 2-1 record in Group A play to earn the A2 seed in Medal Round play, beating Chile and Mexico by a combined +79 points while losing by four to Team Puerto Rico (86-90).