BASKETBALL: U.S. men edge Uruguay to clinch 2019 World Cup berth

Scotty Hopson (6) driving for the U.S. against Uruguay (Photo: USA Basketball)

Back in September, the U.S. men’s National Team, working to qualify for the 2019 FIBA World Cup, defeated Uruguay, 114-57 in Las Vegas.

In the rematch on Sunday, the U.S. trailed Uruguay in Montevideo, 54-50, going into the fourth quarter. But the American squad rallied with a 28-16 outburst to win the game, 78-70, and improve to 8-2 in the Group E standings and clinch a place in the World Cup.

Uruguay actually got up by 64-56 in the final quarter, but the U.S. got strong play from Scotty Hopson and Travis Trice, with eight points each, to finally pull ahead for good. Trice led the team in scoring with 17 points, followed by John Jenkins with 13, Hopson had 11, and Eric Moreland and Chasson Randle had 10. The U.S. shot only 42.2% from the floor, but held Uruguay to 31.7% and had 41 rebounds to 38 for the home team.

In the other games in Group E, Puerto Rico defeated Panama and Argentina sailed past Mexico, 85-71. That brings the standings to:

1. Argentina (9-1)
2. United States (8-2)
3. Uruguay (6-4)
4. Puerto Rico (6-4)
5. Panama (4-6)
6. Mexico (3-7)

The top three teams in the group will qualify for the 2019 FIBA World Cup (and a fourth might qualify), and Argentina and the U.S. have clinched top-three finishes.

The final qualifying games will come in February, with the U.S. playing at home against Panama and Argentina. You can follow the games and standings here.