NOVI SAD (FIBA U19 World Championship) - USA head coach Jerry Wainwright admitted his team had to dig deep to defeat Argentina in the quarter-finals of the FIBA U19 World Championship on Friday.
Twenty-two points in the last five minutes guided the US to a double scalp of South American opponents as they secured a 112-86 victory to reach the semi-finals.
USA, who saw off Brazil 104-65 in the eighth-finals, were made to work slightly harder against Argentina, but tormentor-in-chief Patrick Beverley helped them maintain their 100% record.
Wainwright said: "Having experience playing Argentina last year in the 18-and-unders and then seeing them down in the Global Games, even though we didn't play them, we knew they were a team that was going to be a really hard match-up for us.
"We probably could have played small the whole game and it would have been the same result, but I tried to get our big guys some reps and the way (Argentina plays), it's hard to play (them).
"I was really disappointed in our defense. We fouled way too much. The game was called a way that was very physical and for a minute there we lost our composure, but got it back. I think we finished the game the right way."
Beverley led all scorers with 20 points and six rebounds, although he was ably assisted by Raymar Morgan, who added 16 points and pulled down seven rebounds.
Wainwright added: "Our core guys, the David Lightys the Patrick Beverleys, the Johnny Flynns, the Stephan Currys, the Raymar Morgans, that core of guys have really been good.
"Mike Beasley and Deon Thompson, under tough circumstances guarding smaller guys did a really good job."
Argentina, who had only edged into the last eight on points difference, were shown up here, although the result could have been closer had it not been for the wayward shooting from the arc of Facundo Pinero.
Pinero, who missed a crucial last-minute basket in his side's narrow 79-78 defeat to Australia, netted three of seven (42.8%) three-point efforts to contribute to a poor team record of nine of 27 (33.3%).
And the game's MVP Beverley revealed that Argentina had been a much tougher proposition than the scoreline suggested.
He said: "They came out and didn't hold anything back.
"Everybody in the tournament knows that you lose, you go home. That's the mentality I guess they came out with but we just have to keep our composure, finish plays.
"It was a really aggressive game, neither team wanted to lose and it got really aggressive.
"That's the game of basketball, sometimes you have games like that. But as I said before, we just have to keep our composure and try to come out with a victory."
Argentina end their tournament with a 3-4 record while the USA are now on an impressive 7-0 winning run.