Walker Kessler Sees Little Playing Time As USA Loses To Lithuania At World Cup

Sep 3, 2023, 10:33 AM


Ignas Brazdeikis #9 of Lithuania is blocked by Walker Kessler #14 of the United States on a shot attempt in the second quarter during the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2nd Round Group J game at Mall of Asia Arena on September 03, 2023 in Manila, Philippines. (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)

(Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITYUtah Jazz center Walker Kessler saw limited action as the USA men’s basketball team suffered its first loss at the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

The USA faced Lithuania in the second round of Group J play of the tournament on Sunday, September 3.

Team USA fell to Lithuania, 110-104.

Kessler played six minutes in a game impacted by Lithuania’s big men and their ability to score.

The United States got off to a slow start and fell into a double-digit deficit in the opening quarter. Lithuania jumped out to a 31-12 lead at the end of the first quarter. Team USA managed to get things going in the second quarter but couldn’t make up much ground before halftime. Lithuania entered the break with a 17-point advantage.

After coming back from the locker room, the USA posted a dominant third quarter and outscored Lithuania by 12 points by limiting the European team’s opportunities. However, in the fourth quarter, the United States allowed Lithuania to score 39 points and the two-possession deficit that existed at the end of the third quarter was still there at the final buzzer.

Kessler scored only two points on 1/1 shooting in his six minutes of time on the court. He also pulled down one rebound, recorded one block, and committed two fouls.

The USA was led in the loss by Anthony Edwards of the Minnesota Timberwolves. The emerging superstar had a game-high 35 points on 14-26 field goals. Mikal Bridges, Brandon Ingram, and Jalen Brunson were the only other USA players to hit double figures in scoring.

Lithuania was carried to the win by Vaidas Kariniauskas and Mindaugas Kuzminskas, who combined for 29 points. Jonas Valanciunas added 12 points. Lithuania had seven players score at least 10 points.

RELATED: Jordan Clarkson Catches Fire In FIBA As Philippines Defeat China

Despite the loss, Team USA qualified for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris after the Dominican Republic lost to Serbia.

USA basketball’s next game at the FIBA World Cup is against Italy in the quarterfinals on Tuesday, September 5.

Other Jazz players at World Cup

Jazz forward Simone Fontecchio helped Italy beat Puerto Rico, 73-57, to close out group play. Fontecchio had 12 points, 12 rebounds, one assist, and one steal.

Jazz center Kelly Olynyk helped Canada defeat Spain, 88-85. Olynyk had six points, two rebounds, and one assist in 19 minutes. Canada will play Slovenia in the quarterfinals on Wednesday, September 6.

Kyle Ireland is a Sports Producer and Locals in the NFL Insider for KSLSports.com. He’s also co-host of the Yards After College Podcast. Follow him on X/Twitter (@kyleireland), Instagram (@kyleirelandksl), and Threads (@kyleirelandksl).

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Walker Kessler Sees Little Playing Time As USA Loses To Lithuania At World Cup