With 63:100 victory over Italy, the United States moved to World Cup semifinals
Posted : 05 September 2023
Following their defeat to Lithuania, Team USA displayed a remarkable resurgence in the quarterfinals of the World Cup against Italy, securing a convincing 100-63 victory in a game that was decidedly one-sided from the outset. Their next challenge awaits, with Germany or Latvia set to determine their fate in the tournament.
The standout feature of this clash was the exceptional three-point shooting prowess exhibited by the American squad. They connected on an impressive 17 of 36 attempts from beyond the arc, boasting a remarkable 47.2 percent success rate. Mikal Bridges led the charge with 24 points in just 18 minutes, hitting 4-of-6 from long range. Tyrese Haliburton, the second-highest scorer with 18 points, was equally deadly from beyond the arc, sinking 6-of-8 shots. Austin Reaves contributed 12 points, shooting an efficient 3-of-4 from three-point territory. In the rebounding department, the Americans dominated, claiming a 33-55 advantage, led by Bridges and Bobby Portis, each grabbing 7 rebounds.
The game held particular significance for NBA Rookie of the Year Paolo Banchero, given his Italian heritage and his choice to represent the United States. His decision stirred controversy, with Italian Basketball Association president Gianni Petrucci labeling it as "treason." Anthony Edwards, the tournament's marquee player, had a relatively quiet performance, managing just 3 points.
On the Italian side, Simona Pontecchio led the scoring with 18 points, while Stefano Tonot added 11. Notably, this game marked the farewell match for Italian basketball legend Luigi Datuma, who announced his retirement from professional basketball after this campaign.
For the United States, this victory marked a significant step towards recovery from the trauma of their elimination in the quarterfinals by France in 2019. Italy, on the other hand, made it to the quarterfinals for the first time since 1998, following a strong showing in the group stage but couldn't replicate their success in this game.
The first quarter saw Nicolo Meli and Stefano Tonot briefly give Italy a 4-6 lead, but the Americans, led by Jaylen Brunson and Mikal Bridges, quickly took control. At the end of the first quarter, the United States held a 14-24 lead.
In the second quarter, the Italians struggled with their three-point shooting, making just 2 of 15 attempts. The U.S. built on this advantage with Bridges leading the way, resulting in a commanding 24-46 lead at halftime, despite Anthony Edwards scoring zero points in the first half.
The third quarter witnessed a fiery performance from Bridges, who continued to hit threes and extend the American lead to 31:60. The U.S. launched an impressive 0-11 run, with Reeves contributing a stunning dunk. Haliburton's creative play added to the spectacle, setting the stage for a 44-83 scoreline heading into the final quarter.
Although Italy attempted an 0-8 run at the start of the final quarter, led by Gabriel Procida and Tonot, Haliburton responded with three consecutive threes, further solidifying the U.S. lead at 51-92. The game then shifted into cruise mode, with both teams having their moments, ultimately culminating in a resounding 100-63 victory for the Americans.