The US national basketball team suffered a huge blow in its bid to qualify for the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China after losing 63-83 at the Estadio Superdomo on Thursday.
Argentina’s Nicolas Laprovittola scored 17 points while Lucio Redivo added 14 to hold off the US from an early qualification bid. The win also lifted Argentina to the top of Group E in the Americas qualifying round with three more games remaining.
The top three countries in the Americas will qualify for the World Cup next year and the US could qualify with a win over Uruguay on Sunday.
US’ Travis Trice scored 16 points but Argentina responded with 31 points in thirteen minutes in the second and third quarter to ensure the Americans didn’t have an easy qualification job. Surprisingly, the Argentinians were trailing 12-0 at the beginning of the game after missing ten straight attempts.
But once they started converting points, they didn’t stop. While the US were up 30-26 with three minutes left into the first half, Argentina ended holding the lead 35-32 at halftime. In the second, Argentina run riot, scoring 23 points against eight by the third quarter.
Although NBA stars are currently held up by club duties, FIBA rules also limited the US to choosing G League players for the qualifiers. However, the NBA players will be available at the World Cup should the US qualifier and may help the team clinch a third straight gold medal at the event.