Team USA and Mexico kicked off the 2014 FIBA World Cup knockout stages in Barcelona, Spain, where Team USA handed Mexico an 86-63 loss and sent them home.
USA started the game off strong, jumping on to an early 12-2 lead. Though, Mexico answered with its own 7-1 run to cut the lead to four, but that is the closest they would ever get the rest of the way. USA was not shooting the ball at an elite level in that first quarter, hitting only 42 percent of its shots, but they were playing solid defense, holding Mexico to 32 percent shooting.
USA’s offense became more stagnant in the second quarter due to zone defense that was being played by Mexico. Although USA was playing poorly on the offensive end, they took a 15-point halftime lead, led by James Harden’s 12 points. Gustavo Ayon scored 12 of his game-high 25 points in the first half. Three-point shooting was the main difference in the half with USA going plus-15 from distance.
USA picked up its offense in the third quarter, led by Stephen Curry’s 11 points, including 3 triples. They spread the lead to 30 points late in the third and outscored the Mexicans 24-6 in the quarter. DeMarcus Cousins came alive as well, scoring 9 of his 11 points in the quarter and shooting a perfect 5-5 for the game.
Rudy Gay had his moment early in the fourth quarter scoring 8 quick points. With the game out of reach, USA inserted the rest of its bench to finish out the game as they held on to their large lead and won by 23 points.
With his third quarter outburst, Curry led USA in scoring with 20 points, followed by his Golden State Warrior teammate Klay Thompson who had 15. Harden remained with the 12 points he had in the first half to finish out the game. Derrick Rose’s struggles continued as he went scoreless shooting 0 for 5 from the field.
Gustavo Ayon led all-scores with his 25 points and added 8 rebounds for Mexico. He was the only one in double figures for them. The second highest scorers for Mexico were Jorge Gutierrez and Roman Martinez with 7 points each.
Mexico was horrid from the costless throw line, shooting just 37.5 percent. USA dominated fast break points 21-8. They also scored more points off turnovers, 26-10, and received more bench production as their bench outscored Mexico’s 38-21.
Team USA led by as much as 37 points, as they won wire-to-wire yet again.
USA will proceed to the next round to play the winner of Dominican Republic and Slovenia on Tuesday, September 9.