USA Basketball defeats Colombia in World Cup qualifiers

BARRANQUILLA, Colombia – USA Basketball is on course to qualify for next year’s World Cup.

John Jenkins scored 26 points and the United States beat Colombia 95-77 on Monday night in a second-round qualifier. The victory put the Americans in a position to secure a spot for the World Cup – to be held in the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia a year from now – when the next window of matches takes place in mid-November.

Langston Galloway and DaQuan Jeffries each scored 14 points for USA, who gave up the first field goal of the game, then scored the next 12 and never trailed again.

“Coming out with this win is a big moment for us,” Jenkins said. “We are very excited.”

Jenkins has been brilliant in that two-game window for the United States, including the Americans’ 105-71 win over Uruguay on Thursday in Las Vegas. His numbers in those games: 48 points on 17 for 25 shooting — a staggering 14 for 21 from 3-point range.

He was 8 of 14 from beyond the arc on Monday, with the bottom three of those 3 coming in the final minutes of the fourth as the United States pulled away.

“His leadership was the biggest part of that,” USA coach Jim Boylen said. “He likes to play on the road. He likes to play in hostile places. And he’s in great shape. He arrived in great shape. He believes in USA Basketball. He believes in what we’re doing. He’s elite to follow a game plan. and he’s a veteran player who loves to wear that American uniform.”

It would take nothing less than a total collapse for the United States to fail to qualify for the World Cup. The Americans are part of a six-team field in this qualifying round, and the top three teams in the group have guaranteed spots in next year’s 32-nation field.

USA is 7-1, two games ahead of Brazil, Mexico and Uruguay (all 5-3) in Group F. Puerto Rico is 4-4 and Colombia is 3 -5. There are only four qualifying matches left for each team.

A pair of late-quarter pushes proved crucial for the United States

The Americans outscored Colombia 8-2 in the final minute of the second quarter, turning what was a seven-point advantage into a 45-32 lead at the break. And in the third, a 14-6 run to end the period gave the United States a 70-50 lead going into the final 10 minutes.

“We just kept going, kept fighting, kept playing and the shots started coming in,” Jenkins said.


United States: The United States trailed for 2:22 over a possible 80 minutes in both games of this qualifying window, the other game being Thursday’s 105-71 win over Uruguay in Las Vegas. … The Americans have won their last six qualifying games, averaging 20.3 points. … Eric Mika finished with seven points and nine rebounds, the team record.

Colombia: Braian Angola scored a team-best 18 points. … The hosts were outscored 51-12 on a 3-point range.


In other Group F qualifiers on Monday, Mexico beat Brazil 82-72 and Uruguay beat Puerto Rico 78-70.

In Group E, the other six-team group in the FIBA ​​Americas Region Qualifier, Canada remains in control. The Canadians beat Panama 106-50 on Monday night. Venezuela beat the Dominican Republic 76-72 and Argentina held off the Bahamas 95-77.

Canada is 8-0, Venezuela is 7-1 and Argentina is 6-2, meaning these nations have the inside lane for the top three spots in this group and a place for the World Cup. The Dominican Republic is now 5-3, and Panama and the Bahamas are both 2-6.


Besides the Philippines and Japan, who have qualified as host nations, some places in the field of 32 World Cup teams have been clinched in recent days. Basketball’s governing body FIBA ​​said Finland, Lebanon, Ivory Coast and New Zealand will also officially participate in next year’s tournament.


United States: host Brazil on November 11, location to be confirmed.

Colombia: Face Puerto Rico on November 11.

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