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Hearn, Warney Lead Way As USA Upends Puerto Rico 85-78

By Drew Zlogar | November 23, 2017

USA got off to a victorious start in their 2017 World Cup qualifying tournament, with a 85-78 come from behind win over Puerto Rico tonight. In a game that was close from the very start, USA showed courage pulling out the gutsy win.

Four American players scored in double figures, led by Reno Big Horns’ Reggie Hearn, and Texas Legends’ Jameel Warney’s 17 points each. Markel Brown and Xavier Munford were the others in double figures netting 10 and 12 respectively.

Puerto Rico came out aggressive and confident early, and led 23-15 after the first quarter. In the second, USA caught fire a bit more, as they elevated their team shooting percentage to 48%, however went into the locker room for halftime still down 39-38.

In the third quarter, USA really stepped up their game on both sides of the court. The size became a big difference down low, as USA out rebounded Puerto Rico 44-26, becoming more obvious in the second half. The shooting continued to stay hot as well, as they shot 50% on 2-pointers, and 47.6% from 3 for the game.

In the fourth, a combination of Warney, Hearn, and Munford led the charge to the final buzzer as the three scored 15 of the 24 fourth quarter points. The steady diet of consistent three point shooting, and athleticism and daunting size down low was the key in this game, and the reason for USA getting off to a winning start to the tournament.

USA plays their next game on Sunday at 5:30 ET against Mexico, looking to stay undefeated in these qualifying matches.