2013 USA Men’s U16 National Team Fights Past Argentina For 96-72 Victory
Maldonado, Uruguay • June 12, 2013
Malik Newman (Callaway H.S. / Jackson, Miss.) scored a game-high 21 points to lead the 2013 USA Basketball Men’s U16 National Team (2-0) to a hard-fought 96-72 victory over South American rival Argentina (1-1) on Wednesday night at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship in Maldonado, Uruguay.
The USA’s points were well distributed, as Thomas Bryant (Bishop Kearney H.S. / Rochester, N.Y.) scored 13 points and Diamond Stone (Dominican H.S. / Milwaukee, Wis.) put up 11; while Josh Jackson (Consortium College Prep / Southfield, Mich.), Devearl Ramsey (Sierra Canyon H.S. / Los Angeles, Calif.) and Seventh Woods (Hammond School / Columbia, S.C.) chipped in nine points apiece.
The USA caps the preliminary round with a June 13 contest (2 p.m. EDT) against Bahamas (1-1), which today defeated Mexico (0-2) 77-54. Teams will be seeded following preliminary round play and semifinals are scheduled for June 14, with the finals played on June 15. All games are being streamed live online at FIBAAmericas.com.
“It’s exactly like Argentina has played us in the past four years,” said USA Basketball U16 head coach Don Showalter (Iowa City H.S., Iowa). “From a coaching standpoint, we knew they were going to be that type of team -- physical, hold you and do whatever they can to keep the game close and that’s the only way they could. I thought our kids responded well at times and I thought we got a little frustrated at times with worrying about things we can’t control. So, it was a good lesson for us as we move on.”
In a game that saw a combined 57 fouls whistled – 24 on the U.S. and 33 on the Argentina squad – there were 63 free throws attempted over the 40-minute game, which hindered both teams’ ability to get into a flow.
“It was very aggressive and physical,” said Newman. “They came out like coach said they would, they fought hard, they were aggressive.”
The red, white and blue saw five different players score as the team reeled off 16 unanswered points to start the game. During that time, the North American defense forced the South Americans into seven turnovers, while the U.S. also blocked three of the five Argentine missed shots.
However, Argentina was not about to fold. At 5:15, Ayan Nunez drove to the hoop for his team’s first points of the contest. From there the squads swapped points almost one-for-one and as the first quarter ended, the USA’s lead was 31-16.
“Yeah, it was a little different than last night,” said V.J. King(St. Vincent - St. Mary H.S. / Akron, Ohio), who finished the night with six points and a pair of rebounds. “Argentina was a lot more aggressive. You could tell they weren’t intimidated. They accepted the challenge. They came out with some intensity. They had the crowd behind them, so they had something to play for. Some pride. They’re very crafty. It was a very good game, a very good challenge for us as a team.”
Argentina struck first in the second quarter to close the gap to 13 points, 31-18, but that was as close as the game would get. Receiving buckets three different ways from three different players -- Ivan Rabb (Bishop O’Dowd H.S. / Oakland, Calif.) drove to the basket, Jackson hit a three and Jayson TatumChaminade College Prep / St. Louis, Mo.) got a pull-up jumper -- the USA distanced itself 38-18 at 7:01. From there, the score hovered between 17 and 22 points and the North Americans headed to the locker room up 55-33.
Argentina fought back in the third quarter, outscoring the U.S. 22-17 and at the end of three periods, the USA led 72-55.
After a driving layup by Argentina to start the fourth quarter, the U.S. clamped down on its defense and scored 12 straight points to up the score to 84-57 with 5:38 to play. Argentina never gave up, but there was also no let-up from the USA as it closed with the 96-72 win.
Argentina was led by Guillermo Aliende, who was perfect on 5-of-5 from 3-point and finished with 18 points. Further, Santiago Cuelho scored 12.
While Argentina found its mark on 81.8 percent (18-22 FTs) of its trips to the line, the U.S. shot just 63.4 percent (26-41 FTs) from the charity stripe.
Rebounds were distributed evenly at 45 apiece. However, the USA forced 27 turnovers and converted them into 27 points, while Argentina managed just 12 points off the USA’s 19 turnovers. The U.S. was credited with 16 blocked shots, outscored Argentina 42-28 in the paint and 26-12 on the fast break.
Harry Giles (Wesleyan Christian Academy / Winston-Salem, N.C.) was driving to the basket at the 1:07 mark in the first quarter, got caught between two Argentine defenders and suffered a left knee sprain. Sidelined for the remainder of the tournament, Giles will be reevaluated upon return to the United States.
“The injury to Harry, it’s one of those things in basketball you hate to see. It’s the second year in a row we’ve had an injury, Dakari Johnson went down last year in the U17s. But, I think our kids are going to rally around Harry a little bit and hopefully we can keep positive about it. He's still very much a part of this team.
In Group B, Puerto Rico (1-1) nicked host Uruguay (0-2) 65-59, while Puerto Rico (0-1), while Canada (2-0) defeated Chile (1-1) 87-40.
The tournament, featuring eight U16 national teams from the Americas zone, serves as a qualifier for the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship. The top four finishing nations from the FIBA Americas U16 Championship advance to the 2014 U17 Worlds.
Two-time defending gold medalist at the biennial event that was launched in 2009, the U.S. now owns an unblemished 12-0 all-time record at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship.