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U.S. routs Italy, advances to FIBA World Cup semifinals

Apr 17, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Mikal Bridges (1) shoots the ball against the Philadelphia 76ers during the second quarter in game two of the 2023 NBA playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Mikal Bridges scored 24 points and Tyrese Haliburton added 18 off the bench as the United States routed Italy 100-63 on Tuesday to reach the semifinals of the FIBA World Cup in Manila, Philippines.

The U.S. was coming off an upset loss to Lithuania in the World Cup on Sunday. And even though that defeat didn’t impact the Americans’ qualification for the 2024 Paris Olympics — the United States and Canada will represent the Americas region — coach Steve Kerr’s team undoubtedly took out some of that frustration on the Italians.

Team USA next will face the winner of Germany-Latvia, who play Wednesday, in the semifinals on Friday.

The Americans, led by Bridges’ 14 first-half points, took a 22-point lead into halftime.

Bridges added six rebounds, two steals and a block as the Americans outrebounded Italy 51-33.

Kerr employed a halfcourt trap that kept the Italians off balance as they hit just 30.7 percent of their shot attempts, including 18.4 percent from three-point range.

“Just a great defensive effort,” Kerr said after the game. “Our guys got after it right from the beginning, put pressure on and kept the pressure on. The next group came in, did the same thing, and it was our best defensive effort of the tournament to this point. And that’s what it’s going to take to win two more games.”

The Americans, by contrast, shot 53.7 percent from the field, with a blistering 47.2 percent from three.

Bridges and Halliburton were a combined 14-of-20, including 10-of-14 from long range.

Utah Jazz forward Simone Fontecchio led Italy with 18 points.

Austin Reaves added 12 for the United States.

–Field Level Media