Team USA had no answer for R.J. Barrett. The No. 1 player in the 2019 class, the Canadian sensation scored 38 points to lead Canada to a 99-87 and keep John Calipari’s squad out of the World Cup Gold Medal Game.
Barrett was a man among boys. No American could stop the 6’6″ swingman from getting to the rim. Barrett made 50 percent of his shots and got to the free throw line early and often (12/15 FT). He also had 13 rebounds and 5 assists.
The only thing that could slow him down was foul trouble. Canada had an 11-point lead when fouled out with three minutes left, but it wasn’t enough time for the Americans to mount a comeback.
Offensively, USA struggled to score against Canada’s zone defense. P.J. Washington and Hamidou Diallo worked the lane well in the middle of the zone, but failed to finish tough, contested baskets and left too many points off the scoreboard. The two Wildcats combined to make only 6 of 25 shots.
Team USA left even more points at the free throw line. The Americans made only 25-of-43 free throws (58.1 percent).
Washington still led Team USA in scoring with a 17-points, and added 11 rebounds for a double-double. Diallo finished with 8 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists.
While the Americans struggled to get momentum at the beginning of the second half, they looked to Diallo to provide a spark on defense. He created some turnovers, but not enough without fouling, forcing him to sit for much of the third quarter.
When Diallo returned to the game, he did not provide much during crunch time. Draft Express’ Jonathan Givony chalked it up to inexperience. “Hamidou Diallo bricking free throws, running into brick walls for charges, heaving up tough shots. Lacks big game experience in a major way.”
Team USA’s Stats
Team USA will play Spain tomorrow at noon for the bronze medal. More to come from Cairo.