BILBAO70-, SPAIN --The U.S. Men's Senior National Team improved to 4-0 and earned the No. 1 seed for Group C in the 2014 FIBA World Cup with a 106-71 win over Dominican Republic (2-2) Wednesday evening at Bizkaia Arena. Leading from start to finish, the USA had secured a double-digit lead of 56-41 by halftime and then blew the game wide open with a 25-11 third-quarter advantage.
The USA will complete its preliminary-round play on Friday facing Ukraine (2-2) at 11:30 a.m. EDT (ESPN2). Regardless of the outcome, the USA will advance as a No. 1 seed out of Group C into the round of 16, where it will face the No. 4 seed out of Group D on Sept. 6 in Barcelona, Spain.
“I was pleased with our team tonight,” said USA coach Mike Krzyzewski. “I thought part of the start was we missed three layups, five free throws. They were short handed with (Francisco) Garcia not playing and what happens, I think, sometimes you don’t want to pile it on, but you also don’t have the edge you normally have. I thought our guys got that. I thought our bench did a great job. We’re happy that we’re going to finish first in our pool, so we already know that, and hopefully we can come back tomorrow and play really well against Ukraine.”
Krzyzewski is now 70-1 as the head coach of the U.S. Men's Senior National Team, including an active 58-game win streak. Team USA is 8-0 this summer with four exhibition wins prior to the FIBA World Cup and a 4-0 mark in pool play.
Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets) led the USA with 16 points and six rebounds; DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings) added 13 points, five rebounds and six steals in 12 minutes; DeMar DeRozan scored 11 points; and Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans) and James Harden (Houston Rockets) finished with 10 points apiece. Davis also blocked five shots to go with his seven rebounds, and Stephen Curry dished out seven of the USA’s 28 assists.
Former Blue Devil Kyrie Irving started in the backcourt for Team USA and finished with six points, two rebounds and two assists in 27 minutes of action, while 2013 Duke grad Mason Plumlee added five points, one rebound and an assist in seven minutes of play.
The USA tallied 66 of its points in the paint and converted Dominican’s 26 turnovers into 36 points. For a second straight night, all 12 U.S. players put points on the board.
Ten different U.S. players saw time in the first quarter, but the USA was cold to start – shooting just 9-of-23 from the field (.391) in the first period. The USA forced seven Dominican turnovers, however, as seven players helped the USA to a 25-22 advantage.
The USA’s icy shooting did not last. The U.S. pounded the ball inside and attacked the rim to score 18 of its 31 second-quarter points in the paint to help heat up its shooting to 59.1 percent (13-22 FGs). Davis and Faried scored six apiece in the quarter. Allowing Dominican just 19 points, the USA headed into the halftime locker room with a 56-41 advantage.
The USA reeled off six straight points after Dominican scored to open the second half, and led 62-43 at 7:25. The USA closed the quarter with an 11-0 run to lead 81-52 at the final break.
That run stretch into the fourth quarter and totaled 22 unanswered points overall, earning the USA its largest run of the game. The USA’s broke into triple-digit territory with just under a minute remaining when Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons) finished an alley-oop dunk to make it 101-68. As both teams finished of the game with respective 3-pointers, the buzzer sounded on a 106-71 win for the USA.
Complete recaps, stats, notes and quotes for Team USA's 2014 FIBA World Cup run are available at www.usab.com.