Today Team USA showed the first signs of real pressure since beginning the FIBA World Cup Tournament. They took on Germany for the quarterfinal game, ending the first quarter with a 6-point lead.
Germany had been ranked second for their long distance shooting (39 percent), which became evident why after the first half. German shooting guard #10 Ferdinand Zylka, was the star player of his team and gave Team USA trouble from the 3 point line in the first half of the game.
“Well in the first half #10 had 13 points and we just said, ‘Guys are you not watching?’ so in the second half we did not give him a three until late and we kind of backed off him, we just tried to make him bounce,” said Coach Calipari.
Team USA entered the second half with only a two point lead over Germany, however the first unit of players in the second half turned the game around, with Carson Edwards leading the pack. The star players of the last game didn’t perform as well, but Calipari said he loved that different people were helping them win, singling out both Edwards and Pritchard Payton.
“They got us a lead and they, you know, stretched out the game, which is what they should do,” said Calipari.
In these final championship games Calipari explained the pressure they felt in the first half was normal,
“Every team is gunna play us in the first half and be excited and be focused and their gunna execute, our job is to keep coming at em’ and try to wear em’ down,” adding, “we needed to be challenged a little bit.”
Tomorrow Team USA faces Canada.