The United State’s Men’s National Team, perhaps in solidarity with their countrymen and women waking up early to watch their game back home, got off to a sleepy start versus the Czech Republic in their final game of group play at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
They eventually woke up.
After trailing by as many as 10 points in the first quarter, the USA outscored the Czechs by 29 in the second and third quarters on the way to a 119-84 victory on Saturday at Saitama Super Arena.
With the win, the United States qualifies for the quarterfinals by finishing second behind France in Group A with a 2-1 record. The United States will face either Italy, the second-place team in Group B, or the second-place team in Group C, which will be determined by Sunday’s game between Spain and Slovenia.
Even though Saturday’s game was all but a must-win for both teams, it was the Czechs, who entered the contest with the same record in group play as the Americans, who looked like the more motivated team in the early going. Behind 11 first-quarter points from Blake Schilb, the Czech Republic jumped out to a 14-7 advantage. The United States would respond with an 11-4 run, though Czech Republic scored the last four points of the quarter to take a 25-18 advantage into the second.
And after threatening to overtake the Czechs early in the second quarter, the…