In the second men’s quarter finals, the winner of Pool B, the USA, took on the fourth placed team from Pool A, the Netherlands.
In a thrilling start to the game, the two sides matched each other point for point until midway through the opening quarter when the Netherlands pulled away to take the first 10 minutes by 18-12. The USA, however, hit back in stunning fashion in the second: firing home shot after shot, whilst putting up a strong defence in order to take a seven point lead over the Dutch at half time (27-20).
The third quarter saw a stunning shooting performance by the USA: the Americans outscoring their opponents by 24-4 to enter the final 10 minutes of the game ahead by 51-24. The Netherlands continued to put up a gritty performance throughout the final quarter, but once again the USA put up a strong performance in and around the paint to secure a semi final place with a 70-37 win.
Mustafa Korkmaz, the Netherlands’ top scorer with 17 points, said: “The first half of the game was okay: we started well – our shooting percentage was good; the second half, we were a little bit tired – the pressing was too strong from America and we didn’t shoot anymore, we didn’t cross anymore.
“We have to focus on the next game: it would have been good to have won this game, but we lost – it’s part of the game – so we have to forget about this game now and focus on the next game.”
Steve Serio, the USA’s top scorer with 18 points, said: “It was the first time that we really had to deal with adversity in this tournament so far. We knew that the Netherlands are a great team, we knew that they were going to come and really strong – and they kind of got us in that first quarter. But I’m extremely happy with the way we responded and happy we got the win today.
“At this level the little things are the most important: the Netherlands made some tough shots during their run and we missed some easy ones, but we’ll go back to the tape and try to fix our mistakes and get better for our next game.
“Our whole game is predicated on our defence: our defence is the foundation of what our game is built on and we know that when we play really great aggressive defence like we did today, we’re going to be in any game that we play.
“The number one strength of our team is our closeness: we love training together, we love competing together, and we bring the best out of one another. We did it together today, which is the thing I’m most happy about.
“We haven’t looked ahead to the semi final yet: we knew we couldn’t overlook the Netherlands, they’re a great team and we knew that we were in for a fight today.”
For full match statistics click here https://www.rio2016.com/en/paralympics/wheelchair-basketball-mens-quarterfinal-wb-8