Monday, June 11, 2018

USA trounces Panama, 118-26, at FIBA Americas U18 Championship

Kansas head coach Bill Self has a laugh with an official during the second half, Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas head coach Bill Self has a laugh with an official during the second half, Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Appropriate for a game live-streamed on YouTube, USA Basketball’s U18 team produced what amounted to a 40-minute highlight mixtape Monday night at the FIBA Americas championship.

A day after his team won its opener by 32 and head coach Bill Self said he wanted to see the U.S. tighten up its play moving forward, the players responded by overwhelming Panama, 118-26.

No. That’s not a typo.

The group of young USA prospects didn’t even allow Panama a passing notion of hope, putting together a 45-0 lead more than three minutes into the second quarter, before Panama finally got on the scoreboard with a John Gunn basket.

Led by 6-foot-9 forward Armando Bacot’s 17 points, the U.S. shot 56.6 percent from the floor, mostly by decimating Panama in the paint, 70-10.

What did Self tell his players, in the midst of a contest so out of hand?

"Don’t play the score, try to play to win each possession," Self said. "A lot of coach-speak. I thought our guys actually did a pretty decent job. I’ve never seen a score like that after one quarter. After that, they still tried to play the right way."

Five USA players finished in double figures and six more scored at least eight points, including incoming University of Kansas freshman Quentin Grimes.

An 18-year-old guard from Texas, Grimes opened the landslide with a layup and contributed nine points on 4-for-6 shooting, scoring all four of his baskets at the rim.

Bishop Miege star and Class of 2019 KU recruiting target Jeremiah Robinson-Earl secured a game-high 13 rebounds to accompany his eight points, as the US dominated the glass, 63-37.

Another 2019 KU recruit, 6-9 Matthew Hurt finished with eight points and eight boards.

Self described some factors that led to such a blowout.

"Most teams are going to send two back when you shoot the ball, so you’re not going to get very many run-outs like that," he said. "It’s a fun team. I know it looked like we pressed, we didn’t press. We just pressured in full-court man. A lot of times if you create some havoc they’ll just give the ball to you every now and then and that’s what happened some tonight."

No Panama players reached double-digit points, as the U.S. restrained its devastated foe to 9-for-73 shooting.

With the thrashing, USA Basketball improved to 2-0 in the preliminary round. Its final group play matchup comes against Puerto Rico at approximately 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

Teams will be seeded within each group based on preliminary-round results, and all eight teams advance to Thursday’s quarterfinal games. The semifinals will be played Friday, and the finals on Saturday. The top four finishing teams qualify for the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup.

FIBA live-streams all FIBA Americas games on its YouTube channel.


Tony Bandle 4 years ago

Bill Self post game interview.

Maybe, if they had tried a little harder, they could have won by 100!!

Practice tomorrow at 6:00 am!!

Bryce Landon 4 years ago

Dang, are we sure that it's Bill Self coaching the U-18 team and not Billy Tubbs? O_O

What I wouldn't give to see Kansas beat Iowa State 118-26...

Dee Shaw 4 years ago

Bill Self is a bully winning by that much. Show some compassion coach. Panama players did receive a trophy for at least trying. It made them all feel special.

Steve Corder 4 years ago

A waste of time more than anything else.

Who's next? The Little Sisters of the Poor?

Tracey Graham 4 years ago

This is a joke. It's a bad look for Team USA and it's so sad for the kids from Panama. Is there no type of qualifying system for these Under 18 tournaments? There should be a way to make sure the teams can at least provide some sort of competition. I'm not sure how it helps Team USA to destroy a team that clearly isn't even close to being on the same level. And how is it going to help Panama to develop its program? What kid is going to want to go be humiliated like this?

Sean Lancaster 4 years ago

Why would you think an international competition is the time to "develop a program?" A game like this is a good opportunity for kids to learn to play to the possession and not to the scoreboard, just as Self suggested.

Keith Gellar 4 years ago

I agree. This is like high schoolers beating on middle schoolers and then bragging about it. Have some pride. If someone were to do this against us, we'd all be up in arms...and rightfully so.

Self has always preached and practice sportsmanship. very surprised with what all is going on. It definitely raised some concerns for me. Very Caliparish!!!

Marius Rowlanski 4 years ago

So what should Coach Self tell his reserve players that he has put into the game in the first quarter? Stop scoring? Or stop playing defense? Panama made 9 out of 73 shots and were outscored 70 to 10 in the paint.

No one forced Panama to play in this tournament and the score only reflects how poorly Panama played. Don't blame Bill Self for picking the 12 best players available. Most of these kids never get a chance to play for their country. Of course they are going to play hard.

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