USA U19: UK players lead Americans to exhibition win

T.J. Walker, Basketball Recruiting Analyst
Cats Illustrated

John Calipari and the USA U19 National Team enjoyed an 89 exhibition win over Lithuania on Wednesday.

P.J. Washington (18) and Hamidou Diallo (17) combined for 35 points and were the two leading scorers of the game. Kentucky 2018 recruiting targets Cameron Reddish had eight points, Louis King seven points and two points for Romeo Langford.

It's was John Calipari's first win for Team USA.


USA Basketball

"We were a little sluggish in the first half, and I thought in the second half our pressure and our athleticism kind of wore them down," Calipari told USA Basketball. "But, our execution is not great. Our biggest issue right now is defensively we don’t talk enough, and they haven’t been together long enough to really know how we wanted to play. I’ve got 10 days to get these guys talking more, playing off one another more. I’m happy were doing a couple scrimmages, so we understand how it is."

Diallo's three pointer at the end of the first quarter gave Team USA a 21-19 lead after the Americans struggled during the majority of the quarter.

"It felt good," Diallo said. "That’s the first time in an official game in a long time, and I felt good. I think I played well, but I’ve got to get better on a bunch of things, I’m still a little rusty, but I felt like I played well and helped my team come up with a W."

Diallo sat out last semester at UK. He enrolled after the first semester at Kentucky but never played a game for the Cats. This November will be his redshirt freshman season.

"It’s kind of like I told them at halftime, being the coach at Kentucky I see this all the time," Calipari said. "First half early in the game teams go crazy, eventually you try to wear them down and then you try to get them at some point in the second half, and I told the guys that."

The USA will start its quest for a third consecutive gold medal in pool play on Saturday but the Americans will play another exhibition game on Thursday when they take on France.

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