USA and China shine on Day 1 of FIBA 3x3 U23 World Cup 2023
27 Sep 2023
LUBLIN (Poland) - Team USA (Men) and China (Women) dominated in a perfect run on Day 1 of the FIBA 3x3 U23 World Cup 2023 on September 28.
On the Men’s side, the star-studded USA squad showed out. They took on Japan in their opening game, boasting an immediate size advantage. The inside presence of Matthew Hurt paid dividends as he grabbed clutch rebounds, putting up 7 points in a winning effort. Bryce Wills was feeling himself as well, scoring 6 points in a 12 - 21 victory.
It was Italy next and the result stayed the same. A 21 - 16 win thanks to a 7-point display from Wills. Hurt and Trey McGowens III combined for 10 to round off a stellar Day 1 for the Americans.
Joining them in the list of teams to go perfect are Lithuania and France who came back in an incredible game against Romania to win in OT before beating the home team and last year’s Gold Medalists Poland.
On the Women’s side, China made an instant impact, picking up one of the biggest wins of the day. They faced off against contenders USA and came away with a 22 - 20 win in OT. Mengjie Wu put up an incredible 8 points, as did Ming Zheng who also scored the clutch dagger two to call game.
They took care of business against Kenya as Zheng went off for another 8-point game while Yaling Huang added 7 in a 21 - 11 victory.
Alongside China, the Netherlands, Hungary and France dominated on the Day as well, going undefeated.
USA (Men) were led in scoring by Bryce Wills who seemed unstoppable, getting buckets at will. He put up a combined 13 points, tied for the second-most points on the day as they finished with a 2 - 0 record.
Lithuania’s (Men) Rokas Mačiulis did one better, scoring 14 points to finish tied with most points on opening day. His 9-point display was the difference-maker in an absolute battle against Egypt.
On the women’s side, the on-fire Ming Zheng was a beacon for China as her two 8-point games took her to second in scoring for the event. No team seemingly had the answer for her, not even USA who found themselves on the losing end of a dagger two from Zheng.
Tied with her in points was Dutch star Kiki Fleuren who added to her already stellar campaign with a superb start to her U23 World Cup run. She was lethal in her drives while also being money from deep. Her 9-point game led them to the win against Austria where she put up 3 huge twos.