2013 USA Basketball U16 Men Collect Third-Straight FIBA Americas U16 Championship Gold Medal With 94-48 Victory Over Argentina
-- Malik Newman Claims FIBA Americas U16 Championship MVP Honors --
Maldonado, Uruguay • June 15, 2013
Behind a decimating 28-7 second quarter, the 2013 USA Basketball Men’s U16 National Team (5-0) accomplished exactly what the previous two USA U16 squads did, vanquished all comers, including Argentina (2-3) 94-48 in the championship game, en route to collecting gold at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship on Saturday night in Maldonado, Uruguay.
Malik Newman (Callaway H.S. / Jackson, Miss.) finished with nine points, four assists and four steals and earned tournament MVP honors; while Josh Jackson (Consortium College Prep / Southfield, Mich.) was the games leading scorer with 16 points, Jayson Tatum (Chaminade College Prep / St. Louis, Mo.) added 14 to go with six boards, Seventh Woods (Hammond School / Columbia, S.C.) had 12 points and four assists, Ivan Rabb (Bishop O’Dowd H.S. / Oakland, Calif.) posted a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds and Thomas Bryant (Bishop Kearney H.S. / Rochester, N.Y.) missed out on a double-double by one point with nine points and 10 rebounds.
“It was a great honor I didn't really think I was going to get it, but wen they called my name it was all a blessing,” said Newman. “I’m just glad my teammates believe in me and the coaches did also, and I’m just glad I had a great tournament with the USA team.”
All three of the USA’s U16 gold medal victories have come against Argentina (101-87 in 2009 and 101-64 in 2011) and the U.S. now owns an unblemished 15-0 overall record in FIBA Americas U16 play.
Canada (4-1) earned its third bronze medal at the U16s with a 62-50 victory over Puerto Rico (2-3), which finished in fourth place in 2011 and in sixth place in 2009.
“I think what we really felt that our pressure could hurt Argentina,” said USA U16 head coach Don Showalter (Iowa City H.S., Iowa), who is now a perfect 31-0 over the last four summers in FIBA and FIBA Americas competitions, winning three U16 zone championships and two U17 World titles. “We started out a little slow, but we didn’t put a lot of pressure on them to start with either. We missed some easy shots and then we got our press going. This might be one of the best pressing U16 teams that I’ve had the opportunity to coach. We went into our press and it really bothered Argentina. We got a lot a lot of easy baskets and some quick layups off of it.
“(Malik Newman) obviously deserved it,” added Showalter. “His first two or three games were the best ones, but a good player’s going to be noticed by other teams, so he’s going to have a little bit harder time of it. Tonight I thought he made some great passes, he played some great defense, hit some shots. He does a lot of things for this team and I think he deservedly gets the MVP.”
Both teams seemed to feel the pressure of the game and nearly five minutes expired in the game, the score was just 8-6 in Argentina’s favor.
That was about to change.
For a team that shot just 55.3 percent (73-132 FTs) from the line in its first four games combined, the U.S. closed out the first quarter by shooting 9-of-10 from the line to take a 15-8 lead at the quarter break.
“It was very important,” said Bryant of the team’s shooting from the charity stripe to close the first quarter. “Since they were going to foul us, get us into the penalty, we had to make foul shots For and that would’ve made our lead even more capable of getting to. So, being able to knock down free throws is just as important as getting transition layups and dunks.”
Allowing Argentina to knock down a 3-pointer 16 seconds into the period, the U.S. responded with a game-clinching 22-2 run that distanced the North Americans from their rivals 37-13 with 3:55 still to play before half. Argentina finally broke the run with a bucket at 1:59, but the red, white and blue capped the first half with a 6-0 spurt for a dominating 43-15 halftime lead.
If there was any hope left for Argentina, it was quickly quashed early in the third. With the scoreboard showing 46-19, the USA got 11 unanswered points, seven from Jackson, to put the game well out of reach, 57-19, with 16:05 to play.
The Americans cruised through the remainder of the contest, going up by as many as 48 points, 98-46, to earn gold.
Notching 28 points off of 22 turnovers, 12 of which were outright steals, the USA got 46 points in the paint and outscored Argentina 26-8 on the fast break and 43-9 off the bench. Further, the USA held a 61-42 rebounding advantage and dished out 22 assists on 33 field goals.
“(Winning the gold medal) meant a lot,” said Rabb. “It meant that all the hard work that we put in during the off-season and during the school year and during out camp, it finally paid off and we got a gold medal, which was the plan from the start.”
The U.S. closed the game shooting 71.0 percent (22-31 FTs) from the charity stripe, its best game at the line by far, while making 44.0 percent (33-75 FGs) from the field and 30.0 percent (6-20 3pt FGs) from 3-point, while limiting Argentina to an icy 24.4 percent (19-78 FGs) from the field and 14.8 percent (4-27 3pt FGs) from beyond the arc.
Argentina’s high scorer was Makimo Fjellerup with 13 points.
“Being here, you develop friendships for a lifetime,” added Jackson. “These dudes are like my brothers now. Anytime I see them, I’d do anything for them and I’m pretty sure they’d do anything for me.”
In classification games, Bahamas (2-3) nipped Mexico (0-5) 60-58 for seventh place, while Chile (2-3) edged host Uruguay (1-4) 66-65 for fifth place.
Harry Giles (Wesleyan Christian Academy / Winston-Salem, N.C.) suffered a left knee sprain during the USA’s second game and was sidelined for the remainder of the tournament.