Team USA was tested but prevailed over Montenegro

2023-09-01T12:30:56+00:00 2023-09-01T13:44:54+00:00.

Aris Barkas

01/Sep/23 12:30

Montenegro tried its best but Team USA was simply too much for the Balkan squad

By Aris Barkas/

Manila, Philippines – It wasn’t pretty, but the USA got the win, 85-73, over Montenegro. With a 4-0 record, they are continuing their run to the FIBA World Cup quarterfinals.

Anthony Edwards with 17 points and Tyrese Haliburton with 10 points plus six assists led a balanced effort against a Montenegro team that pushed hard but didn’t have the necessary depth to challenge the full 40 minutes of the Group J game.

They did have, however, Nikola Vucevic who had a stellar night with 18 points and 15 rebounds. On the other side, Austin Reaves made the biggest three of the game to give a solid 75-68 lead to the USA.

The game started with Montenegro getting an 11-4 lead and Vucevic scoring five points. However, the score was tied at 12 a bit later but Montenegro kept its distance with a 6-0 run (18-12).

Team USA with the second unit on court had their own 7-0 run, completing the first period with a one-point lead (19-18).

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The second period started with Montenegro getting the 21-19 lead after a three by Vladimir Mihailovic. The USA tried to run in transition, but with three minutes left in the quarter, the score was tied again at 31. 

Vucevic returned to action after some solid minutes of rest after scoring 9 points in the first period. The game turned into a dogfight and the halftime score was 38-37 for Montenegro with their zone defense setting the tone.

The USA took a 48-46 lead after two free throws by Edwards and four minutes of action in the second half. Still, Montenegro didn’t back down as the Americans entered the last period leading by six (61-55).

Vucevic and co made it once again a two-point game (64-62). However, they also ran out of gas. A much deeper USA bench made all the difference on the way to the win despite just 5/20 threes. Still, with one of them, Reaves decided the outcome.