The U.S. Men’s National Team moved on to the semifinals of the FIBA Basketball World Cup, brushing aside Slovenia 119-76 Tuesday in Barcelona, Spain.
Team USA took over with a 37-22 third quarter, and will face Lithuania (6-1) Thursday, which advanced after a 73-61 win over Turkey:
“It’s always an honor to play against Slovenia; so well coached, and I think as good of a perimeter as anybody in these two pools,” said USA coach Mike Krzyzewski . “With (the) Dragics (Goran and Zoran) and (Domen) Lorbek you have three of the really outstanding players in the whole tournament. So, we knew it would be a tough game. I thought we played really hard the whole game, we just couldn’t finish in the first half some of those plays, and they stayed with it and the flood gates opened in the second half. But our effort was there, intensity and emotion the whole game.”
While Klay Thompson led six players with 20 points, 12 of James Harden’s 14 points came in the third quarter, which saw the USA force Slovenia into eight of its 25 turnovers. Overall, 42 of the USA’s point were scored on a fast-break opportunity and 40 were scored off of turnovers. The USA also set a U.S. Men’s World Cup record with 92 field goal attempts. The previous high was 88 field goal attempts against Russia on Aug. 14, 1994.
“We know they are a tough team. They don’t back down,” Thompson said of Slovenia. “They play physical. It’s a 40-minute game. If it was a 20-minute game, it would be a whole different story. We play good teams, like Slovenia and Lithuania next, we just want to keep pressuring them, keep wearing on them and not give them any easy shots. They got a few tonight, but as long as we keep flying around on defense. We’re more athletic than every team in this tournament, so we have to use that to our advantage.”