USA U19 Men Down Argentina, 93-45, Advance To Quarterfinals
Balanced scoring and a dominating defensive performance paved the way to the USA’s 93-45 drubbing of Argentina (0-4) Wednesday in the round of 16 at the FIBA U19 World Championship in Heraklion, Greece. With the victory, the U.S. (4-0) advances to play Friday in the medal round quarterfinal versus 3-1 Italy (11:15 a.m. EDT, live on ESPNU), 82-73 winners over Dominican Republic (0-4).
All 12 USA players scored in the victory over Argentina, with eight scoring between six and the game-high 17 points.
The USA was led by 6-foot-10 high school senior Harry Giles (Wesleyan Christian Academy/Winston-Salem, N.C.), who recorded a double-double for the second consecutive game. Giles finished with 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting and added 12 rebounds and one blocked shot in 17 minutes of action.
“I felt great; I tried to pick up the tempo. It started on the defensive end, just blocking shots and rebounding, and I tried to use that to help me get going offensively and help my team, just help with the energy of the team,” stated Giles, who after four games is averaging team-highs of 14.0 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. “The focus was just go out there and win because we didn’t want to go home. We didn’t travel this far to lose. I just went out there and played hard, and played the way USA should.”
Also aiding the USA’s cause were Jayson Tatum (Chaminade College Prep/St. Louis, Mo.), 14 points; Allonzo Trier (Findlay Prep, Nev./Seattle, Wash.), 13 points; Jalen Brunson (Stevenson H.S./Lincolnshire, Ill.), nine points and a game-high six assists; while Caleb Swanigan (Homestead H.S./Fort Wayne, Ind.) and Josh Jackson (Prolific Prep, Calif./Southfield, Mich.) each were credited with seven points.
“We did some things that were very good tonight. Our turnovers were a concern; anytime you turn the basketball over 26 times that’s not a good sign. So it’s hard for us to have such a positive feeling and I think those 26 turnovers undermined a lot of great things we did,” said USA and University of Arizona coach Sean Miller.
“We’re getting great production from our center position – Thomas Welsh, Chinanu (Onauku) and Caleb (Swanigan). Every game that we’ve played, if you look statistically at what they bring to the table, it favors us and I thought they had another good night tonight.
For all intents, the outcome of this game was decided before it was five minutes old.
Terrance Ferguson (Homeschooled/ Dallas, Texas) opened the game with a 3, and less than 3:30 into the opening stanza, the U.S. had sprinted to a 13-3 lead.
Argentina scored five points to reduce the lead to 15-8 with 5:13 left in the first, but the USA, getting points from four different players, distanced itself from its South American opponent by scoring eight consecutive points to take a commanding 23-8 lead.
The USA not only dominated the first quarter scoreboard, but the first quarter statistics, too. Leading 26-12 after 10 minutes, the Americans sank 10-of-18 shots (.556 percent), including 2-of-4 3-pointers; secured 13 rebounds; and had pressured Argentina into seven turnovers and 4-of-18 shooting (.222 percent).
Not much improved for Argentina in the second quarter as the U.S. closed the half by scoring the last 12 points to build a 49-20 lead at halftime and all but seal the win.
The U.S. compiled 21 assists for the game and was credited with 15 steals.
“We’ve been together for a long time now, so we’re really starting to play more together as a team. We’re just playing so well together, it’s really beautiful to watch,” said Brunson.
In the medal round quarterfinal games Friday, Turkey faces Australia (6:45 a.m. EDT); Croatia battles Canada (9:00 a.m. EDT); the USA takes on Italy (11:15 a.m. EDT); and Spain goes against Greece (1:30 p.m.).
“Italy is a very skilled team. They’re a system team, and we have to defend the 3-point line and do a great job of playing our style without fouling,” said Sean Miller.
The quarterfinals winners advance to the semifinals are on July 4, and the finals are on July 5.
In other round of 16 games Wednesday, Croatia (3-1) defeated China (1-3) 75-68; Spain (2-2) toppled Egypt (1-3) 67-60; Turkey (4-0) downed Iran (0-4) 73-63; Italy (3-1) beat Dominican Republic (0-4) 82-73; Canada (4-0) pounded South Korea (0-4) 100-64; Australia (2-2) upset Serbia (2-2) 69-56; and host Greece (4-0) whipped Tunisia (0-4) 100-48.
The 2015 USA Men’s U19 World Championship Team coaching staff is led by Sean Miller, and features USA assistant coaches Ed Cooley (Providence) and Archie Miller (Dayton).