Jeff Van Gundy warned the Americans that they were in for a serious challenge. To his chagrin Jamie Collins Jersey , he was right, and the U.S. was handed a rare loss.
Francisco Cruz scored 24 points, Mexico opened with an 18-0 run and went on to beat the United States 78-70 on Thursday night in a qualifying game for next year’s FIBA World Cup.
According to USA Basketball, it was just the second loss by the U.S. in 30 games against Mexico – with the other defeat coming in the 2011 Pan Am Games.
Orlando Mendez-Valdez added 20 points for Mexico, which held the U.S. scoreless for the first 5:51 and forced the Americans into missing their first 10 shots from the floor.
”Mexico dominated us from the start and that’s on me,” Van Gundy said. ”We were not ready to compete at the level Mexico did. Give them all the credit, they played a great, great game.”
Marcus Thornton scored 14 points for the U.S., which is using a roster composed primarily of G League players for the qualifying rounds. Xavier Munford added 11 points while David Stockton and Reggie Hearn each had 10 for the Americans.
The U.S. lost for the first time in 10 contests under Van Gundy, who is coaching this team that’s tasked with getting the team of NBA stars that will be coached by Gregg Popovich to the World Cup.
”We can’t underestimate how hard it is going to be to play on the road, at altitude, and against a team desperate to qualify for the FIBA World Cup,” Van Gundy said leading up to the game. ”We have to make sure we match that type of intensity and passion that we know they’ll bring.”
By the time the U.S. found its stride 49ers Kentavius Street Jersey , it was already in deep trouble. Mexico led 31-10 after the first quarter, then staved off a big second-half rally try by the U.S.
Trey McKinney-Jones‘ basket late in the third quarter capped a 15-1 run and put the U.S. within 53-51. Thornton made a pair of 3-pointers about a minute apart in that burst, and Hearn’s 3-pointer early in the fourth cut Mexico’s lead to 56-54.
But the U.S. never got the lead.
”In the second half we competed at a high level and that high level got us back in the game, but we just couldn’t get over the hump,” Van Gundy said.
The Americans (4-1) – who have already ensured themselves a spot in the second round of qualifying that starts in September – end the first-round series of games Sunday when they go to Havana to face Cuba (0-5). It’ll be the first time a U.S. men’s national team has played in Havana since the 1991 Pan American Games. Mexico (3-2) also wraps up its first round on Sunday, when it plays at Puerto Rico (3-2).
David Huertas had 18 points, Angel Rodriguez and JJ Barea each had 15 and Puerto Rico rallied in the fourth quarter in another qualifying game Thursday to top Cuba 84-80.
Under FIBA’s new qualifying format, teams are playing home-and-home games against teams in their region to earn places in the World Cup in China, which begins on Aug. 31, 2019. That tournament will qualify seven teams for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
This was the first time the U.S. played a true road game during this tournament. The Americans opened qualifying in November with an 85-78 win in what was a ”home” game for Puerto Rico – but the contest was actually played in Orlando, Florida because of continued problems in San Juan following Hurricane Maria.
And this was very much a real road atmosphere.
Not only was the game played at Mexico City’s 7,500-foot altitude, but in a filled 5 Cheap JK Scott Jersey ,000-seat arena that Mexican officials said sold out in only 45 minutes.
The tone was set by the U.S. turning the ball over on each of its first three possessions, and Mexico was off and running.
The U.S. routed Mexico back in November, winning by 36 points.
That was a very different Mexico team.
Only four players from the Mexican roster then were in uniform on Thursday night, with the team now able to add those who were playing in their various professional leagues and unable to take part when the qualifying rounds began. Cruz and Mendez-Valdez each had 13 points by halftime, and Gustavo Ayon was a big factor even without big numbers – four points, four rebounds and five assists by the break.
If their names are familiar to U.S. basketball aficionados, it’s for good reason.
Ayon appeared in 135 NBA games in parts of three seasons with four different franchises, and just helped Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid win the EuroLeague. Mendez-Valdez was part of the Western Kentucky team that went to the Sweet Sixteen in 2008, and he won the Sun Belt’s player of the year award in the following season. Cruz played at Wyoming and has played in pro leagues in Mexico, Latvia, Argentina and Spain.
San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch felt like he had filled a hole at middle linebacker when he drafted Reuben Foster in the first round a year ago. Now with Foster facing legal trouble and possible league punishment following three felony charges in a domestic violence case, Lynch heads into this year's draft knowing he can't count on Foster to play this season.
"You have to think about those things," he said. "You have to take that into account. You would be foolish not to.
"So having said that Adam Vinatieri Jersey , we grade all the players. We look at every position. I think with the improvements we've made on our roster last year, one of the things we're excited about, does every team have needs? Of course they do. But we filled a lot of those."
They might need to fill the one at linebacker again and could have options with the ninth overall pick where Georgia's Roquan Smith or Virginia Tech's Tremaine Edmunds could be possibilities.
Foster delivered on the field as rookie after being taken 31st overall a year ago, ranking second on the team with 72 tackles in 10 games and looking like a key part of San Francisco's defensive future.
But he was charged with felony domestic violence on April 12 after being accused by authorities of dragging his girlfriend and punching her in the head, leaving her with a ruptured eardrum.
Foster is not participating in the team's offseason program and Lynch said he will be cut if it's proven that he hit a woman. He also faces a potential suspension, leaving his status in doubt.
Here are some other things to watch in the draft:
WATCHING QBS
The 49ers filled their glaring hole at quarterback by trading for Jimmy Garoppolo at last year's trade deadline and giving him a five-year contract this offseason. But how things play out with the quarterbacks will impact San Francisco's draft.
With Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen and Baker Mayfield all projected as high picks, a quality player at another spot could fall to No. 9 or San Francisco could deal that pick if one of those four QBs is still on the board.
"I do think not needing a quarterback and all those quarterbacks likely being up there, it will push some really good football players back there," Lynch said. "You can't just fall in love with one guy, because who knows how it will break."
TRADER JOHN
Lynch was aggressive in his first draft, making six trades. He moved down from No. 2 to No. 3 overall to get more picks and then moved up from the second round to the end of the first to select Foster at No. 31. There were four more deals as Lynch was willing to move up to grab a player he coveted or down to get more picks when there wasn't an obvious selection.
"You better have multiple answers because multiple things could happen Authentic Rick Leonard Jersey ," Lynch said. "We're going to be aggressive in finding the guys that we like."

DAY 3
Lynch filled several holes on day 3 of the draft a year ago, with fifth-rounders TE George Kittle and WR Trent Taylor, sixth-round DT D.J. Jones and seventh-round S Adrian Colbert all playing big roles as rookies.
"Everyone focuses on the work up top with No. 9, but we really try to take a holistic look at this thing and pride ourselves on being real strong on the back end of the draft," Lynch said.
HITS, MISSES AND BARGAINS
The team's most productive draft pick in recent years was 2016 first-round defense lineman DeForest Buckner, who is an anchor for the defense. Former GM Trent Baalke had far more misses in his final years, leading to his firing following the 2016 season. Baalke used seven picks from 2013-16 on players coming off serious knee injuries and none of those gambles paid off. All seven players are gone and only Tank Carradine and Keith Reaser played more than two games with San Francisco. Lynch had a strong first draft class with several key contributors coming in the late rounds, including Taylor and Colbert.
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