Rising sophomore Austin Wiley had nine points and seven rebounds to help USA Basketball to an 82-60 victory over medal favorite France in its second friendly in as many days on Thursdayin Cairo, Egypt.
“We played a tough France team,” said Wiley. “They were pretty good. We just played hard and were more physical, and we came out with a good W.”
Wiley scored 15 points in an 89-66 victory over Lithuania in a friendly on Wednesday, a day after making the 6,900-mile trip from Colorado Springs, Colo., to Washington, D.C., to Germany and finally Cairo.
“Not being together that long, probably less than a week, we’re playing well, and we’re looking pretty good, and I think we’ll get even better,” said Wiley.
USA shot 49.2 percent from the field and outrebounded a taller French squad 41-37, including 11 offensive rebounds. France shot 25.3 percent from the floor and had 21 turnovers. USA dominated with a 46-28 edge in paint points and scored 26-11 advantage in fast break points.
“We rebounded well. I think our big guys (including Austin) Wiley are playing well,” said USA head coach John Calipari.
The United States opens the FIBA U19 World Cup in Cairo, Egypt, on Saturday against Iran, Sunday against Angola and July 4 vs. Italy.
“It’s real important because it gets teams out of whack,” said Wiley of playing good defense for Team USA. “It makes them a little nervous and messes with their game. So, it’s really important.”
The United States will practice on Friday prior to the preliminary round opener vs. Iran on Saturday at 10:30 am CT in the Cairo Stadium Indoor Hall 1.
USA faces Angola on Sunday at 11:15 am CT before its final group play game against Italy on July 4 at 9:30 am CT.
Following the preliminary round, all 16 teams will be seeded according to group play results and will advance to the July 5 round of 16. Winners will advance to the July 7 medal quarterfinals, while the remaining teams will continue playing out for classification.
The medal semifinals will be held July 8, and the gold and bronze medal games on July 9.
Wiley will be vying for his second-straight gold in as many summers as he was averaged 8.0 points and a team second-best 6.4 rebounds for Team USA’s gold medal winner at the FIBA Men’s U17 World Championship in Zaragoza, Spain in 2016.
The United States is looking for its third-straight gold medal at the FIBA U19 World Cup after winning over Serbia in 2013 in Prague, Czech Republic and defeating Croatia in 2015 in Heraklion, Greece.