Team USA needed a strong second half to overcome Germany on Friday, but they played well enough to pull away with an 81-59 win.
The Americans’ strategy was to attack Germany’s lack of size with Austin Wiley and Brandon McCoy. It worked well at times, but the lack of balance and scoring from others led to far too many dry spells on offense, which led to USA trailing in the second half for the first time in FIBA play.
Early in the third quarter, P.J. Washington and Hamidou Diallo had combined for just four shot attempts, whereas McCoy and Wiley had combined for 13. Once the offense started finding more balance, the Americans were able to jump back ahead of the Germans.
Diallo would finish the game with eight points on 3-of-7 shooting. He also chipped in three boards, two assists and a steal. He never did find a good rhythm, but he did enough in the second half to help the Americans build a comfortable lead.
As for Washington, he had easily his worst game in FIBA play with just points three points on 1-of-5 shooting with two boards and two steals. He’s been a stud in nearly every game thus far, so one off game is nothing to worry about.
Wiley was easily the game’s best player, as the Auburn Tigers center finished with a game-high 19 points on 9-of-15 shooting along with 10 boards. He’s going to be a force in the SEC next season.
UK recruiting target Cameron Reddish had yet another well-rounded performance with seven points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals. Reddish continues to do everything great while playing under John Calipari, which will only help in this recruiting war with Duke for the five-star wing.
Saturday’s semifinal action will feature Canada and star wing R.J. Barrett. Regarded as the No. 1 overall recruit in the Class of 2019, Barrett is very likely to reclassify into the 2018 class and be one of, if not the top player in this class. Getting to see him in action against Calipari’s USA team will be very interesting to watch, and this will easily be USA’s toughest opponent in FIBA play thus far.
Here is Friday’s final box score and team comparisons, courtesy of FIBA:
Check out a replay of the game below in addition to highlights from USA’s previous wins:
This is still the highlight of the tournament by Diallo: