Puerto Rico Rumors
The U.S. men’s basketball team will host its next two World Cup qualifying games in Santa Cruz, California, at the home of the Golden State Warriors’ G League affiliate. The Americans will play Cuba on Feb. 23 and Puerto Rico on Feb. 26 at Kaiser Permanente Arena, USA Basketball announced Monday. The Americans beat Puerto Rico last month during their 2-0 start in the new qualifying format for the 2019 World Cup in China.
For USA Basketball, the first World Cup qualifying test is out of the way. Jameel Warney and Reggie Hearn each scored 17 points and the United States opened qualifying for the 2019 Basketball World Cup with an 85-78 victory over Puerto Rico on Thursday night.
Xavier Munford scored 12 points and Markel Brown added 10 for the Americans, who trailed 57-51 late in the third. A 10-0 run late in that quarter gave the U.S. the lead, and a 22-12 burst in the fourth decided things. “Those of our players that have played in a FIBA game, I think knew what to expect,” U.S. coach Jeff Van Gundy said. “But those that had not played in a FIBA game, it was harder for them initially to adapt and adjust. We got hit with haymakers early, and I was really proud of our guys.”
The devastation wreaked by Hurricane Maria will force Puerto Rico to move its World Cup basketball qualifying game next month against the United States, according to two people with direct knowledge of the situation. Talks between the Puerto Rican national basketball federation and U.S.A. Basketball to move the game to Orlando, Fla., were continuing as of Monday afternoon.