USA U17 Men Overpower Philippines 124-64 To Claim Top Seed In Group A
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Owning a 7-inch average height advantage over its opponent, the 2014 USA U17 Team (3-0) dominated the boards and overpowered the Philippines (0-3) to close preliminary round play with a lopsided 124-64 victory at the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship for Men on Monday evening at the Al-Ahli Arena in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The victory earned the U.S. the No. 1 seed out of Group A heading into tomorrow’s round of 16, where it will face Japan (0-3), which finished fourth in Group B (6:15 a.m. EDT on ESPNU/Watch ESPN).
Quarterfinals are slated for Aug. 14, semifinals will be played Aug. 15 and the finals will take place Aug. 16. Should the U.S. men continue to advance, all of their games will be carried by ESPNU/Watch ESPN or ESPN3.
The USA had six athletes in double-digit scoring, led by Josh Jackson (Consortium College Prep H.S./ Southfield, Mich.) and Malik Newman (Callaway H.S./Jackson, Miss.), who scored 16 points apiece. Terrence Ferguson (Prime Prep Academy/Flower Mound, Texas) and Harry Giles (Wesleyan Christian Academy/Winston-Salem, N.C.) scored 15 points each; Henry Ellenson (Rice Lake H.S./Rice Lake, Wis.) added 14 points and Diamond Stone (Dominican H.S./Milwaukee, Wis.) added 12 points. Further, Jackson and Stone each grabbed 11 of the USA’s 66 boards for a double-double andCaleb Swanigan (Homestead H.S./Fort Wayne, Ind.) posted eight points, seven rebounds, three blocked shots and three steals.
“Today we did a great job,” said USA head coach Don Showalter (Iowa City H.S., Iowa), who now owns an overall 19-0 win-loss record in FIBA U17 World Championship Games. “We’re hitting 3-point shots now. We’re hitting the open man. Tonight we made four, five, six, seven passes and made great shots off of that, whether it be a 3-point shot or going inside. Our bigs are playing much better. Diamond Stone is playing at the top of his game, rebounding-wise, team-wise and defensive-wise. Our defense is getting better overall. I think we’re coming together a little bit more as a team and chemistry-wise. We’re really working with each other and that just takes awhile.”
“It started out with the defense; that got me into the game,” said Ferguson, who hit five of the USA’s nine 3-pointers. “Harry (Giles) and Jayson’s (Tatum) dunk, that got me all excited, it got me into the game. So, I just started feeling it after that. It was on. I kept shooting.”
The USA, which has an average height of 6-foot-6 compared to the Philippines’ average of 5-foot-11, never trailed. Earning the game’s first four points, each of the U.S. starters were on the scoreboard after Newman went up for a layup at 7:01 to up the score to 10-3. Utilizing speed and agility, the Philippines kept up with the USA’s high-tempo and after a put-back with 2:53 to play in the first quarter, trailed by five, 21-16.
However, a trio of 3-pointers by three different Americans in under a minute spread the score to 30-16 and a put-back by Swanigan with 12 seconds left gave the U.S. a 32-16 advantage after the first quarter.
“Oh they’re tough, they’re really tough,” added Ferguson. “I even talked to them after the game and told them they were probably the toughest team we played against. They’re always on. They’re running full speed the whole game. I don’t think they get tired, I really don’t think so. If they had a couple more inches, it would have been a great game.”
After spotting their opponents five quick points to open the second quarter, Stone got a tip-in at 8:37 that was followed by an emphatic dunk and put-back by Giles to expand the lead to 38-21. Philippines cut it to 16, 42-26, with 5:00 remaining before the halftime break, but that’s as close as the islanders would get. Five-straight points from Newman sparked the USA into outscoring its opponent 19-6 to close the half with a 61-32 lead.
The second half was more of the same as the USA cruised in for the win.
The height advantage helped the USA dominate the glass 66-26, including 29 on the offensive boards. The USA also ourscored the Philippines 72-26 in the paint, 29-8 on second-chance points and 57-20 off the bench.
“We have some of the best players in the United States and some of the best players in the world,” said USA Basketball rookie Tyus Battle (Gill St. Bernard’s School/ Edison, N.J.), who passed out three of the USA’s 21 assists. “The way we can bring our players off the bench and make a huge impact on the game has been impressive to me.”
The Americans collected 19 points off of 18 turnovers, while giving up just five points off of their 16 turnovers.
“We’ve improved a lot,” said V.J. King (St. Vincent-St. Mary H.S./Akron, Ohio). “We’re coming together as a team. We’re playing harder. We’re playing harder. We’re coming together and we’re starting to have a lot of fun out there.”
In the other Group A game today, Greece (2-1) downed Angola (1-2) 62-51; Group B saw France (2-1) take down Japan (0-3) 96-51 and Canada (2-1) prevail over Australia (2-1) 85-74; in Group C Italy (2-1) defeated Spain (1-2) 64-50 and Puerto Rico (3-0) remained undefeated with a 110-53 victory over host UAE (0-3); while Group D saw Serbia (3-0) escape Argentina (2-1) 60-57 and China (1-2) earn its first victory, 84-58 over Egypt (0-3).
Two-time defending U17 gold medalist, the USA now has a perfect 19-0 record at the U17s. The U.S. qualified for this year’s U17s by virtue of its gold-medal finish at the 2013 FIBA Americas U16 Championship.
Players eligible for this competition must be citizens of the country they represent and have been born on or after Jan. 1, 1997.
Joining Showalter on the sideline as USA assistant coaches are Eric Flannery (St. Edward High School, Ohio) and L.J. Goolsby (KC Run GMC, Kan.).
2010 was the inaugural FIBA U17 World Championship for Men. The USA captured gold with a perfect 8-0 record and Brad Beal was tabbed MVP of the tournament of the biennial event. In 2012 Jahlil Okafor earned MVP honors and was joined on the all-tournament team by Justise Winslow as the U.S. again rolled up a perfect 8-0 slate en route to gold.
Based in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA Basketball, chaired by Jerry Colangelo, is a nonprofit organization and the national governing body for men’s and women’s basketball in the United States. As the recognized governing body for basketball in the U.S. by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), USA Basketball is responsible for the selection, training and fielding of USA teams that compete in FIBA-sponsored international competitions, as well as for some national competitions.
During the 2009-12 quadrennium, 1,273 male and female players and 235 coaches participated in USA Basketball, including USA Basketball teams and trials, and USA Basketball 3x3 FIBA championships.
USA Basketball men’s and women’s teams between 2009-12 compiled an impressive 262-35 win-loss record in FIBA and FIBA Americas competitions, the Pan American Games, the World University Games, the Nike Hoop Summit and in exhibition games.
USA teams are the current men’s and women’s champions in the Olympics; men’s and women’s FIBA World Championships (Basketball World Cup); men’s and women’s FIBA U19 and U17 World Championships; men’s and women’s U18 and U16 FIBA Americas Championships; the FIBA 3x3 Women’s World Championship; and the FIBA 3x3 Women’s U18 World Championship. USA Basketball currently ranks No. 1 in all five of FIBA’s world-ranking categories, including combined, men’s, women’s, boys and girls.
For further information about USA Basketball, go to the official Web site of USA Basketball at www.usab.com and connect with us on facebook.com/usabasketball, twitter.com/usabasketball, plus.google.com/+usabasketball