Team USA has wrapped up pool play and will open the Round of 16 on Wednesday against Mali.
The Americans enter the elimination round riding a 3-0 start that saw each of their first three wins come by 33+ points. Leading the way for USA have been a pair of Kentucky Wildcats in PJ Washington and Hamidou Diallo.
Washington, an incoming freshman forward, went for 20 points on 8-of-9 shooting in Tuesday’s 98-65 win over Italy. He also chipped four rebounds, two steals and an assist while taking on a point forward role in John Calipari’s offense. He’s now reached double-figures in all three USA wins while shooting a combined 18-of-28 shooting for 44 points to go with 15 boards, seven assists and five steals.
“Yeah, well he’s been scoring the whole time. He’s a beast and I don’t know how you guard him,” Calipari said of Washington following the win over Italy. “If he gets an angle by you, he’s tough to stop. And he made his free throws today. He’s playing the way we need him to play.”
Hamidou Diallo had his first ‘off’ game in FIBA play with just five points on 2-of-9 shooting, but did chip in four rebounds, three assists and no turnovers. That came after Diallo was nearly unstoppable in wins over Angola and Iran, where he scored 32 points on 13-of-20 shooting with seven boards, four assists, four steals and two blocks.
Those two have easily been USA’s two best players through the first three games, and they’ll need to keep playing at a high level to get the American through their first elimination game of the FIBA Tournament when they face Mali.
Here is how you can watch and follow the matchup:
United States (3-0) vs Mali (0-3) in FIBA U19 World Cup Round of 16
When: Wednesday, July 5th at 9:30 a.m. ET
Where: Cairo, Egypt
Team Comparison (via FIBA):
Here’s the USA roster via FIBA:
And here is a bracket for the Round of 16: