USA U17 Men See Seven Finish In Double-Digit Scoring In 104-57 Win Over Egypt
The 2016 USA Basketball Men’s U17 World Championship Team (3-0) wasted no time in establishing the upper hand as it sprinted to a 14-0 lead in the first 2:24 of play against Egypt (1-2) and continued to dominate en route to a 104-57, preliminary round victory on Sunday afternoon in Zaragoza, Spain.
The win gave the U.S. the No. 1 seed out of Group A heading into the June 28 round of 16 at the FIBA U17 World Championship for Men, where the USA will face Argentina (0-3), the No. 4 seed out of Group B (time TBD), in the knockout round.
Featuring seven players who scored in double figures, the American men were paced in the high-scoring affair by Markus Howard (Findlay Prep, Nev./Chandler, Ariz.), who shot 5-of-9 from 3-point and finished with 19 points and six assists. Gary Trent Jr. (Apple Valley H.S./Burnsville, Minn.) scored 17 points and had three steals; Troy Brown (Centennial H.S./Las Vegas, Nev.) and Austin Wiley (Spain Park H.S./Hoover, Ala.) posted identical double-doubles with 15 points and 11 caroms each, with Troy Brown adding five assists and four steals; Jordan Brown (Woodcreek H.S./Roseville, Calif.) scored 12 points on 6-of-8 from the field; Wendell Carter Jr. (Pace Academy/Fairburn, Ga.) had 11 points and nine boards; and Carte'Are Gordon (Webster Groves H.S./St. Louis, Mo.) closed the game with 10 points and seven rebounds. Additionally, Javonte Smart (Scotlandville H.S./Baton Rouge, La.) dished out a game high-tying six of the USA’s 23 assists while adding five points, five rebounds and two steals to his stat line.
All games are being shown live online at YouTube.com/FIBA.
“We came out right away and really took it to them right off the bat,” said USA U17 head coach Don Showalter (USA Basketball), who is now 26-0 as head coach of USA U16/U17 teams since 2009. “We need to do that to teams in order to get us going, and also to get other teams to understand that this is as hard as we’re going to play throughout the whole game. So, I was really pleased with how we started those first five, six, seven minutes. We did a great job there.”
“From here on out we have to treat every game like it’s our last,” said Howard of the team advancing to the medal round. “Like coach said, we have to treat every game like a (NBA Finals) Game 7. We have to have that mind-set and mentality that it could be our last game, so we have to play our hardest and not let anybody get the best of us.”
After winning the opening tip, a Carter 3-pointer 23 seconds into the game got the U.S. rolling. Trent followed with a jumper and a pair of free throws, while Wiley slammed in back-to-back, crowd-pleasing dunks. He was fouled on the second and after netting his free throw with 7:42 showing, the USA’s lead was 12-0 and Egypt called a timeout. By that time, the USA had shot 4-of-5 from the field and grabbed five boards, while Egypt, which averaged 74.5 points and 56.0 rebounds over its first two contests, was 0-of-3 from the field with no rebounds.
Coming out of the timeout, Trent picked off a pass, launched it to Troy Brown, who slammed home his first two points of the game to put the U.S. up 14-0. Egypt got on the board at 7:17 and notched back-to-back buckets to pull to within 10 points, but that’s as close as the game would get.
Troy Brown scored two from the line, Smart drove to the basket and Howard nailed his first 3 of the game as the Americans pulled away 21-4 with 4:22 to play in the first quarter.
“We started off with a lot of intensity,” said Troy Brown. “Yesterday we came out and kind of played to the other team. We didn’t do the things that we needed to do. Today we came out with a different mentality, especially after coach got on me and Gary (Trent Jr.) and Kevin (Knox), I felt that really got me fired up. It just made us want to play harder.”
Egypt put together an 8-0 run, in part from hitting 4-of-7 from the line, but the USA responded with seven points from Wiley in a 9-0 run that left the U.S. well in control, 33-12. Egypt hit a 3-pointer with 17 seconds left and the first 10 minutes came to a close with the red, white and blue up 33-15.
An 11-2 spurt to start the second quarter extended the lead to 44-17 with 4:29 to play in the first half, and by the halftime buzzer the USA’s advantage stood at 52-31.
If Egypt fostered any hopes of a comeback, they were quickly stifled in the third quarter. The USA defense came out of the locker room and had six steals, forcing 10 Egyptian turnovers for 11 points in the period. Additionally, the Americans allowed just one Egypt field goal in the third quarter, forcing their opponent to a frigid 8.3 percent (1-12 FGs) shooting from the field in the stanza.
Easing up from there, the USA outscored Egypt 26-23 in the fourth quarter to bring the game to its 104-57 final.
“We really shared the ball today,” said Jordan Brown. “I think we’re really getting used to each other and starting to trust each other more.”
In the end, the American men held a 63-34 advantage on the boards, notched 13 steals and scored 25 points off of 20 Egyptian turnovers. The U.S. also shot 52.4 percent (44-84 FGs) from the field, while holding Egypt to an ice cold 28.2 percent (20-71 FGs), and outscored Egypt 62-26 in the paint, 23-7 on second-chance points, 27-13 points on the fast break and 41-9 points off the bench.
“Carte’Are (Gordon) really stepped up,” said Howard. “He was a big presence as well. Wendell (Carter) always plays well. Gary (Trent Jr.) stepped it up from last game and I was happy to see that. And Javonte (Smart) as well, just being that leader, that point guard for us on the court. Everybody in a way stepped up both offensively and defensively.”
The USA held Egypt’s leading scorer through two games, Tarek Raafat, who averaged 20.5 points in his first two outings, to 15 points; and it’s leading rebounder through two games, Ahmed Khalaf (12.0 rpg.) to seven boards.
In other games today, Turkey (2-1) downed Taiwan (0-3) 76-56 to exit preliminary play as the No. 2 seed out of Group A. In Group B Spain (3-0) defeated Argentina (0-3) 59-49 and Lithuania (2-1) earned a 96-73 win over Mali (1-2).
In the day’s later games, Canada (2-0) takes on China (1-1) and Australia (0-2) will play Finland (1-1) in Group C, while Group D games feature France (1-1) against Dominican Republic (0-2) and South Korea (2-0) against Bosnia-Herzgovina (1-1).
Following today’s preliminary round games, all teams will be seeded based on results within their groups and advance to the June 28 round of 16. Winners from the round of 16 advance to the medal round quarterfinals on June 30. The semifinals will be played on July 2, and the finals will be on July 3.
“We’ll be pretty focused now that it’s a one and done deal for our team,” added Showater. “I think they understand that. The scrimmage against Argentina last week doesn’t mean anything. We started the score at 0-0 at the end of each quarter, so it really doesn’t mean a lot. And Argentina has gotten better since then, just as we have. Our kids understand, especially the six who have been here before, understand the level that we have to play starting in our next game if we want to win that gold medal.”
Assisting Showalter and the U17 team are prep head coaches Mike Jones (DeMatha Catholic H.S., Md.) and Miles Simon (California Supreme AAU).
Athletes eligible for this team must be 17 years old or younger (born on or after 1/1/99) and U.S. citizens.
FIBA U17 World Championship for Men
First held in 2010, the FIBA U17 World Championship features the world’s top 17-year-old and younger players. FIBA currently holds U17 World Championships every two years. Under the direction of Showalter, the USA earned the gold medal in the first three editions, compiling a perfect 23-0 record overall.
In the inaugural (2010) FIBA U17 World Championship for Men, the USA captured gold with a perfect 8-0 record and Bradley Beal was tabbed MVP. In 2012, Jahlil Okafor earned MVP honors and was joined on the all-tournament team by Justise Winslow as the U.S. again captured gold. Most recently the U.S. made it three-straight golds as Malik Newman earned tournament MVP honors and Diamond Stone listed on the all-tournament team.