FILE – In this May 26, 2010, file photo, television NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy talks before Game 5 between the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic in the NBA Eastern Conference basketball finals in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — New format, same familiar U.S. dominance on Sunday.
Travis Wear had 14 points and 10 rebounds, three other players also had 14 points, and the Americans beat Mexico 91-55 in their second qualifying game for the 2019 Basketball World Cup.
Coach Jeff Van Gundy’s team, comprised of mainly NBA G League players, was 13 for 24 from 3-point range to win easily after a much tougher opening game against Puerto Rico on Thursday.
“This was a much better win today,” guard Markel Brown said. “But in this situation, we’ll take every win however we can get it, no matter how much we win by.”
The Americans, the world’s No. 1 ranked team and the three-time defending Olympic champions, are used to winning big. But they also almost always have the most talent.
Talent alone won’t win games for them now, with the new qualifying format’s first two windows being played during the NBA season. So that ruled out for them and everyone else NBA and Euroleague talent, leaving teams scrambling to fill their rosters for games this week in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa.
The Americans are turning to NBA G Leaguers who were selected not long before their opening victory over the Puerto Ricans in Orlando, Florida.
“It’s really hard to put a group together that quickly unless players are selfless, and we had a bunch of selfless guys who sacrificed not only their time, but participating in the G League, to represent their country,” Van Gundy said. “I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
Xavier Munford, Brown and Jonathan Holmes all finished with 14 points for the Americans.
The first opening-round windows wrap up Monday. After that teams are idle until February, when the Americans will host Cuba and Puerto Rico. That will come just after the All-Star break, giving USA Basketball plenty of time to evaluate the players it plans to choose for those games.
“Whoever is on that team, I’m sure if Coach coaches it, it is going to be another great team that gets the best out of the guys, and the guys are going to win that,” Munford said.
In other qualifying games:
Group A: Argentina 68, Panama 59; Uruguay 67, Paraguay 49.
Group C: Puerto Rico 95, Cuba 72.
Group A: Spain 92, Slovenia 84; Montenegro 91, Belarus 67.
Group B: Latvia 82, Sweden 73; Turkey 67, Ukraine 60.
Group C: Lithuania 75, Poland 55; Hungary 84, Kosovo 76.
Group D: Italy 80, Croatia 64; Romania 75, Netherlands 68.
Group A: China 92, Korea 81; New Zealand 133, Hong Kong 74.
Group C: Jordan 87, Lebanon 83; Syria 74, India 57.
Group A: Tunisia 67, Cameroon 66; Chad 85, Guinea 51.
Group C: Egypt 67, Morocco 63; Angola 73, Democratic Republic of Congo 64.
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