Washington and Diallo carry Team USA in exhibition win

06/28/2017 08:28 PM

John Calipari’s first game as the coach of USA Basketball’s U19 team got off to a nice start with an 89-66 win over Lithuania, but it was even more good news for Kentucky fans.

Just 24 hours after making a nearly 7,000 mile trip to Cairo, the USA squad took the floor for an exhibition with Lithuania and two Wildcats led the way. Incoming freshman PJ Washington scored a team-high 18 points, while Wildcat teammate Hamidou Diallo added 17. They were two of USA’s three players in double figures (Auburn’s Austin Wiley had 15).

The team was a little slow at the start of the game, which Calipari somewhat expected after the travel and with a new group. He also equated it to the “everyone’s Super Bowl” mentality he so often applies to his Wildcats.

“It’s kind of like I told them at halftime, being the coach at Kentucky I see this all the time,” Calipari said. “First half early in the game teams go crazy, eventually you try to wear them down and then you try to get them at some point in the second half, and I told the guys that.”

For Diallo, who was playing in his first game in almost a year, he was just happy to be back in the mix.

“I felt good. That’s the first time in an official game in a long time, and I felt good,” he said. “I think I played well, but I’ve got to get better on a bunch of things, I’m still a little rusty, but I felt like I played well and helped my team come up with a W.”

UK recruiting targets Cameron Reddish (7 points) and Romeo Langford (2 points) also contributed in the win.

The team’s first preliminary round game is July 1 at 11:30am eastern against Iran.

Thomas Beisner

TJ is an Anchor for Spectrum News. You can catch his work on KSTV, the only nightly show in the state focusing on UK Sports. When it comes to UK Basketball, TJ covers recruiting, the NCAA tournament and everything in between. During March TJ probably sees the players more than he sees his family but he’s able to provide Spectrum News viewers the unique insight that only a lifelong fan can give. He’s also taken on several special programs including “Wildcat Forever: The John Stewart Story.” KSTV airs weeknights at 7:30 and 11pm on Spectrum News. You can also catch podcasts of the show as well as bonus podcasts, just find KSTV on Itunes. For the latest on everything going on with UK Athletics, recruiting or if you just need some hilarious parenting anecdotes follow TJ on Twitter @tjbeisner.

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