Walker Kessler Scoreless In Team USA Win Over New Zealand

Aug 26, 2023, 12:11 PM | Updated: Aug 28, 2023, 1:24 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – Walker Kessler went scoreless as Team USA knocked off New Zealand in their FIBA World Cup opener in the Philippines on Saturday.

The Utah Jazz center went 0-1 over the final 1:30 of the game and failed to record a rebound or assist after Team USA had secured an insurmountable lead, though New Zealand proved tougher than expected.

New Zealand jumped out to an early 10 point lead, and the game remained close until late in the third quarter when Orlando Magic forward Paolo Banchero hit back-to-back threes, giving Team USA breathing room entering the final period.

Banchero finished the game with a team-high 21 points to go with four rebounds and four blocks.

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards scored 14 points, while Reuben Te Rangi led New Zealand with 15 points.

Team USA Back At It Monday After New Zealand Win

After downing New Zealand to open group play, Team USA will retake the floor on Monday when they face Greece.

The star-studded roster will complete group play on Wednesday against Jordan.

ESPN2 will carry each game for Team USA throughout tournament group play.

Monday, August 28 vs. Greece: 6:30 a.m. MST on ESPN2
Wednesday, August 30 vs. Jordan: 2:30 a.m. MST on ESPN2

Four Jazz Players Back In Action Sunday

While Walker Kessler played only a minor role in Team USA’s victory over New Zealand, four other Jazz players will look to fuel their teams to victory on Sunday.

After his 19 point, eight rebound performance in a loss to Australia, Lauri Markkanen and Finland will retake the floor on Sunday at 6:10 a.m. MST when they face Japan on ESPN+.

Kelly Olynyk and Canada will face Lebanon on Sunday at 3:45 a.m. MST on ESPN+ after his 18 point, four rebound, and two assist performance in a blowout win over France.

Led by Jordan Clarkson, the Philippines will look to secure their first victory in Group Play against Angola at 6:00 a.m. MST on ESPN+ on Sunday.

Clarkson scored 28 points while grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out seven assists in a loss to the Dominican Republic on Friday.

Finally, Simone Fontecchio and Italy will see the Dominican Republic in their next game on Sunday at 2:00 a.m. MST on ESPN+.

The Jazz wing scored 19 points and grabbed five rebounds in Italy’s win over Angola to open World Cup play.

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Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.

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Walker Kessler Scoreless In Team USA Win Over New Zealand