LAS VEGAS — The U.S. is another step closer to qualifying for the FIBA Basketball World Cup.
Frank Mason III scored 16 points, and the U.S. beat Uruguay 114-57 on Friday night in the Americans’ first game of the second round of qualifying for next year’s World Cup. The Americans took command with a 15-0 run late in the first quarter, and finished the game shooting 61 percent.
Chasson Randle scored 15 points and Derrick White had 14 for the U.S., which is 6-1 in qualifying. Results from the first round carry over, and Friday’s win puts the Americans in a very strong position.
To be assured of qualifying for next year’s World Cup in China, all the Americans need to do is finish among the top three of a six-team group that also includes Argentina (6-1), Puerto Rico (5-2), Uruguay (4-3), Panama (3-4) and Mexico (3-4). After rolling past Uruguay, the U.S. has a two-game lead over fourth place with five games left.
For the first round of qualifying, the U.S. went largely with a roster composed of G League players. There was much more of an NBA presence Friday, thanks to it still being the offseason.
Of the 11 Americans who got into the game, nine had some NBA experience — that group combining for 259 appearances. And they made sure the outcome of this game was never in doubt.
It was 28-8 after one quarter, 56-24 at halftime. Diego Garcia’s layup midway through the opening quarter got Uruguay to within 10-7, and that was about the lone moment of hope for the visitors.
Dwayne Bacon and Ben Moore each had four points in the 15-0 first-quarter run, and the Americans kept total control the rest of the way.
Uruguay: Joaquin Rodriguez scored a team-high 11 points. … Uruguay shot only 33 percent and was outrebounded 45-27. .. Uruguay didn’t have three of its top players Friday, including center Esteban Batista, who averaged 18.3 points and 11.3 rebounds in the first round of qualifying. The decision was made to keep them home and rest for Monday’s game against Mexico instead of having them make the long flight from Montevideo to Las Vegas.
U.S.: Gregg Popovich, who will coach the U.S. in the World Cup and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics should the Americans qualify, was in Las Vegas for the game. Jeff Van Gundy is coaching the Americans in qualifying. … Bacon and Henry Ellenson each scored 10 points for the U.S. … Reggie Hearn (sprained ankle) did not play, but the Americans are hopeful he can play Monday against Panama. … The U.S. scored exactly 28 points in each of the first, second and third quarters. … All 11 Americans who played scored.
There are three “windows” for second-round games, one that started Thursday and runs through Monday, another going from Nov. 29 through Dec. 3, and then the final one from Feb. 21-25. The World Cup begins Aug. 31.
Uruguay: Hosts Mexico on Monday.
U.S.: Visits Panama on Monday.
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