USA U19 Brings Home the Gold Medal

mens-basketball-action-sethcurry2-7-09large-300x206The United States captured the Gold Medal at the FIBA U19 World Championship, held July 2 – 12, in Auckland, New Zealand. Team USA rolled through the competition going undefeated in nine games, behind a balanced scoring attack, and defeated Greece 88-80 to win the Championship.

In the Gold Medal game, the United States utilized a 27-11 second quarter run to take a 46-30 halftime lead over Greece. Greece responded by outscoring the Americans 21-14 in the third quarter to cut the lead to nine points and setup an exciting fourth quarter. Team USA was paced by Tyshawn Taylor (Kansas Jayhawks) who scored 18 points and recorded five steals. Ashton Gibbs (Pittsburgh Panthers) chipped in 13 points, while Klay Thompson (Washington State Cougars) and Arnett Moultrie (UTEP Miners) scored 10 points each. Both Seth Curry (Duke Blue Devils) and Terrico White (Mississippi Rebels) contributed nine points.

Team USA advanced to the Gold Medal game with victories over Canada and Croatia in the quarterfinals and semifinals respectively. The quarterfinals victory was a decisive 93-73 victory, while the semifinals was a tough fought 81-77 victory.

In the semi-finals, Team USA made 10 of 12 free throw attempts down the stretch to secure the victory. Gordon Hayward (Butler Bulldogs) was the team’s leading scorer with 15 points. Croatia outscored the USA 26-11 in the 3rd Quarter to take a two point advantage, but the USA persevered in the fourth quarter and secured a berth in the Championship Game.

Against Canada, Gordon Hayward paced the team with 20 points, while Seth Curry made four of five 3-point attempts scoring 12 points. Team USA went 14-26 from behind the 3-point arc overall setting a single game record for 3-point shooting percentage. Arnett Moultrie grabbed 11 rebounds in leading the USA to a 39-35 advantage on the boards.

The USA waltzed through preliminary play with a 41 point average margin of victory in games against Iran, France, and Egypt. Against Iran, seven USA players scored in double digits with Tyshawn Taylor leading the way with 13 points. John Shurna (Northwestern Wildcats) posted a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. The game against France saw Seth Curry lead the way with 12 points as he made four of seven 3-point attempts. In the victory over Egypt, seven players scored in double digits led by Ashton Gibbs with 18.

In the first game of the second round, Greece put up a valiant fight in the first half, but the USA opened it up in the second half on the way to a 85-69 win. Howard Thompkins (Georgia Bulldogs) paced the USA with 22 points and three assists. Seth Curry was the team’s leading rebounder with six.

Team USA opened the second quarter with a 15-0 run to blow open game two of the second round against Puerto Rico. The USA went on to outscore Puerto Rico 23-6, in the second quarter, to take a 43-19 advantage at halftime. Puerto Rico tightened it up slightly in the second half, but the United States cruised to a 82-61 victory. Howard Thompkins just missed a double-double with 14 points and nine rebounds. Gordon Hayward contributed 11 points and seven rebounds.

The final game of the second round saw Team USA beat Lithuania 76-69 behind a strong defensive effort. Tyshawn Taylor was the leading scorer with 13 points. Gordon Hayward grabbed eight rebounds.

The USA U19 team was coached by Jaime Dixon of Pittsburgh. He was assisted by Chris Lowery of Southern Illinois and Matt Painter of Purdue.