USA outlasts Montenegro to remain perfect in FIBA World Cup play

Walker Kessler shows his might with this dunk. Cesca Rampas
By Mon Anthony L. Valmoria

PASAY CITY--Team USA leaned on a brilliant second-half performance from star player Anthony Edwards to march to a tough 85-73 win against a very determined Montenegro squad at the Mall of Asia Arena Friday.

The Minnesota Timberwolves superstar, who also led the scoring in the previous game, tallied all of his 17 points in the second half as the Americans remained perfect (4-0) in the FIBA World Cup.

Second-unit duo Tyrese Haliburton and Austin Reaves put up 10 and 12 points respectively for Team USA, who spent the whole game trying to get away and build a comfortable lead but was not able to behind a stellar team performance from Montenegro.

The Black Mountains relied on NBA player and Chicago Bulls center Nikola Vucevic and naturalized player Kendrick Perry. Vucevic dominated the smaller USA frontline all game long, finishing the game with a huge double-double of 18 points and 16 rebounds. 

On the other hand, Perry contributed 14 points of its own, as Montenegro will now shift its focus to Greece on Sunday to try and gun for a quarterfinal spot.

The game featured the closest a team has ever gotten against the US in this tournament after the Americans issued three blowouts against New Zealand (109-81), Greece (99-72), and Jordan (110-62).

Haliburton also dished out six assists while Jaren Jackson Jr. added 11 points as Team USA will face Lithuania next on Sunday in a battle between the number one seeds of the groups playing in MOA Arena.

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