Liberty basketball’s Pacheco-Ortiz wraps up play at FIBA U19 World Cup

Liberty basketball point guard Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz wrapped up play at the FIBA U19 World Cup as he represented Puerto Rico. Pacheco-Ortiz and Puerto Rico finished the tournament with three straight wins and a ninth place finish in the World Cup.

liberty basketball“I am very proud of this team even though being in the top-10 in the world wasn’t our goal I’m still very proud of my team,” Pacheco-Ortiz said. “For being a small island with 3.4 million people and being #9 in the world it’s great and bring happiness to our little island Puerto Rico.”

Pacheco-Ortiz and Puerto Rico played in seven games and finished in ninth place with a 3-4 record. For the tournament, Pacheco-Ortiz averaged 10.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, and a team-leading 3.6 assists. The native of Ponce, Puerto Rico was very efficient on the floor, committing just 1.4 turnovers per game while playing the most minutes of any player for Puerto Rico and posting the third highest efficiency on the team at 7.4 per contest.

Throughout the course of the nine day event, Pacheco-Ortiz faced some of the top competition in the world, playing a handful of players that play for programs like FC Bayern Munich. In addition, Pacheco-Ortiz faced five players playing Division I basketball from schools like Kentucky, Miami and Gonzaga.

“Anytime you represent your country it is a great privilege and an honor. As a program we are so proud of Georgie,” Liberty men’s basketball head coach Ritchie McKay said. “I watched each game and he continued to pick up his level of play as the tournament progressed. He was a catalyst for his team’s success, much like how he was for Liberty this past year.”

As the floor general for Puerto Rico, Pacheco-Ortiz excelled leading the team in assists in five of the seven games he played. Pacheco-Ortiz ranked 14th in the tournament in assists per game, 30th in scoring and 49th in rebounds.

After starting the tournament with four defeats against three of the top-7 teams including Germany and France, Puerto Rico regrouped and rattled off three straight victories to close out the tournament. Pacheco-Ortiz saved his best scoring performance for the last game of the tournament against Japan, shooting 8-of-17 from the field for a team-high 19 points.

“Georgie is a smart player and he has so much passion for the game. He did very well because he is so focused on what he needs to do by performing the right way,” head coach of Puerto Rico Omar Gonzalez said. “We are always proud when Puerto Ricans can play in the United States and in the NCAA so we are really proud that Georgie can play at one of the highest levels.”

To help seal the win, Pacheco-Ortiz shot 50 percent (2-4) from three-point range to go along with four rebounds and an assist. In addition to running the offense, Pacheco-Ortiz proved to be a constant scoring threat having recorded double-digit scoring in four of the seven games in the World Cup.

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