USA bucks off slow start to dispatch New Zealand

Austin Reaves tries a reverse layup against Yannick Wetzell. FIBA
By Mon Anthony L. Valmoria   

PASAY CITY--Team USA started slow but finished strong against New Zealand en route to a 99-72 win in their opening game in the FIBA World Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Americans had to buck off the physicality showed by the Kiwis early on, with New Zealand even leading by double digits in the first quarter, 14-4.

Paolo Banchero and the second unit slowed the pace down to right the ship for Team USA and took the lead, which they never relinquished until the end of the game.

Banchero led the team in scoring with 21 points in 18 minutes off the bench while Austin Reaves, who drew loud cheers from the Filipino crowd, added 12 points.

Reuben Te Rangi stepped in to lead New Zealand in scoring with 15 points, but it was not enough to overcome the tournament favorites.

Follow him on X: @_Morval