Mexico scored a big upset last night in a qualifying game for the 2019 basketball World Cup by beating the United States 78-70 in Mexico City.
It was only the second time the U.S. has lost to Mexico in 30 games; the other defeat was in 2011.
The last time the teams met, in November, the U.S. won by 36 points. But as ESPN noted, the Mexican team is a different one.
Players who were still playing in various professional leagues last fall are now on the roster.
U.S. coach Jeff Van Gundy had warned his team that the game would be a challenge.
“We can’t underestimate how hard it is going to be to play on the road, at altitude, and against a team desperate to qualify for the FIBA World Cup,” Van Gundy said before the game. “We have to make sure we match that type of intensity and passion that we know they’ll bring.”
After the game, he conceded that Mexico dominated from the start “and that’s on me. We were not ready to compete at the level Mexico did. Give them all the credit, they played a great, great game.”
The teams played before a full house — 5,000 fans — at Juan de la Barrera stadium. Mexican officials said the game sold out in just 45 minutes.
The International Basketball Federation World Cup takes place next year in China.