CALI, COLOMBIA – For the second consecutive day, Rio Paralympic gold medalist Jake Williams of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, leads the U.S. Men’s National Team in scoring with 25 points and 8 rebounds as the United States defeated host country Colombia, 85-36, at the 2017 IWBF America’s Qualifier. Williams has two 20-point games for 45 total points in two days. The America’s Qualifier advances the top four teams to the 2018 World Championships.
Team USA is built on speed and a strong defense, and the Evangelista Mora Coliseum witnessed that Thursday evening as the U.S. scored 30 points off of Colombia’s 20 turnovers. Team USA kept Colombia to single digits scoring in three of the four quarters: 26-8; 23-5; 17-14; and 19-9. The biggest run of the night for Team USA was 19 points, and nine of the 11 athletes scored in the game.
Also joining Williams with double digits, were 2016 gold medal teammates Brian Bell of Birmingham, Alabama, and Jared Arambula, of Valparaiso, Indiana, with 15 and 14 points, respectively. 2017 ESPY award winner and co-captain Steve Serio of Westbury, New York, scored nine points, five rebounds and five assists.
Colombia was led in scoring by Nelson Londondo with 15 points, and Jose Leep with 13 points.
In the first major competition following the Rio Paralympics, the U.S. Men’s National Team nearly doubled up Colombia on rebounds, 31-17, and maintained control of the ball shooting 63 percent from the floor, tallying 22 assists, and only turning over the ball 8 times.
“The guys came out with a lot of good energy and focus this evening and I am very pleased in our defensive efforts,” said U.S. Men’s Head Coach Ron Lykins of Colombia, Missouri. “We thought our guys played well in a hostile environment. We improved and built upon what we did in yesterday’s game. We are taking it one day at a time”
Up next, Team USA will tip-off against Uruguay on Friday, August 25 at 1 p.m. central time.
The U.S. Men were drawn into Group B and will have pool play competition against Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Uruguay. Group A Teams are: Argentina, Canada, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela.
On August 28, the quarter finals are slated for a 1 p.m. Central start and conclude later that evening. The two semi-final games are slated for August 29 at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Central. The medal games are scheduled for August 30 at 3 p.m. with the bronze-medal games, and will be followed with the gold-medal game at 5 p.m. Central.
The United States is led by Head Coach Ron Lykins of Columbia, Missouri, who has coached three teams to gold medals at the Paralympics (2004 and 2008 women; 2016 men). He will be assisted by Robb Taylor of Auburn, Alabama, and Christian Burkett of Seattle, Washington. Scott Meyer of Columbia, Missouri, returns as the team manager, and Mary Vacala of Savannah, Georgia, will be serving as the athletic trainer.
The America’s Qualifier is the first set of the four-year trek to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. The U.S. Men must place in the top four to qualify for the 2018 IWBF World Championships in Hamburg, Germany in August. Following the worlds, the U.S. will play in the 2019 ParaPan American Games set for Lima, Peru.
IWBF America’s Qualifier
August 23-30, 2017
USA def. Mexico, 79-34
USA vs Colombia, 85-36
Date Time (CST) / U.S. Opponent
8/25 1 PM / Uruguay
8/27 4 PM / Brazil
IWBF America’s Qualifier Medal Rounds
8/28 1 PM, Men’s quarter-final
8/28 3 PM, Men’s quarter-final
8/28 5 PM, Men’s quarter-final
8/28 7 PM, Men’s quarter-final
8/29 1 PM, Men’s semi-final
8/29 5 PM, Men’s semi-final
8/30 3 PM, Men’s Bronze-medal game
8/30 5 PM, Men’s Gold-medal game