USA U18 Men Rout Brazil 88-48 To Advance To Gold Medal Game
With seven 3-pointers in the third quarter, the 2016 USA Basketball Men’s U18 National Team (4-0) blew past Brazil (2-2) 88-48 in the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship semifinals on Friday night in Valdivia, Chile, and earned a spot in the gold medal game.
The USA will take on also-undefeated Canada (4-0) in the championship at 8:15 p.m. (EDT) on July 23. All of the USA games will be live online at YouTube.com/FIBA.
Canada advanced after beating Puerto Rico (2-2) 83-66. Brazil and Puerto Rico will meet in the bronze medal game at 6 p.m. (EDT).
“I was really pleased with the second half,” said USA U18 and University of Texas head coach Shaka Smart. “Our guys showed really good energy to start the second half and throughout the second half when we put different lineups in the game. I thought in the first half we were a little bit sluggish, and guys were just kind of playing to the level of the opponent. We don’t want to do that. We want to play the best we can possibly play. I thought the second half was much more like that.”
The USA led 10-2 to start the game, but Brazil had cut it to three points 14-11, before Kevin Huerter (Shenendehowa Central H.S./Clifton Park, N.Y.) hit a 3-pointer to make it 17-11 with 2:16 left in the first quarter. After a made free throw from Hamidou Diallo (Putnam Science Academy/Corona, N.Y.) and three free throws from Brazil, the USA closed the period with another 3 from Huerter and a score from Jarrett Allen (St. Stephen's Episcopal School/Round Rock, Texas) to make it 23-14 at the first break.
Brazil got no closer than within seven points in the second quarter, and the USA again finished the period strong, closing with six unanswered points to lead 40-26 at the midway point.
By halftime, Allen had scored all 14 of his points, Markelle Fultz (DeMatha Catholic H.S./Upper Marlboro, Md.) already had dished out seven assists and the USA had forced 19 turnovers out of Brazil.
With the USA leading 46-30 with 7:58 to go in the third quarter, Fultz sank a 3 that was the start of a 27-8 run to close the period that included three 3s from Michael Porter Jr. (Father Tolton Catholic H.S./Columbia, Mo.) as well as 3s from Matt Coleman III (Oak Hill Academy/Norfolk, Va.), Quade Green (Newmann-Goretti H.S./Philadelphia, Pa.) and Trae Young (Norman North H.S./Norman, Okla.), and the USA led 73-38 at the final quarter break.
“We did a good job defending, rebounding, and we had a lot of energy,” said Green, who dished out four of the USA’s 24 assists.
The USA went on to outscore Brazil 15-10 in the fourth quarter to finish with an 88-48 win.
Porter Jr. led the USA with 17 points; Young added 11 points; and Fultz finished with 10 points, 11 assists and six steals. Additionally, James Banks (La Lumiere School, Ind./Decatur, Ga.) tied the USA U18 men’s record for blocked shots with five blocks to go along with his nine rebounds.
“I think we played a lot better,” Porter Jr. said. “We played really good defense, and we didn’t get sped up on offense. We shared the ball really well, and we are looking forward to the championship tomorrow.”
The U.S. defense, which forced a total of 25 Brazilian turnovers, held Brazil to 21.9 percent shooting from the field (16-73 FGs) and a frigid 1-of-21 from 3-point (.048).
In the classification semifinals, Argentina (2-2) beat the U.S. Virgin Islands (0-4) 91-79, and Chile (1-2) edged past the Dominican Republic (0-4) 72-69.
The U.S. Virgin Islands and Dominican Republic will meet in the seventh place game at 1:30 p.m. (EDT), while Argentina and Chile will play in the fifth place game at 3:45 p.m. (EDT).
The USA’s assistant coaches are Kevin Ollie from University of Connecticut and Mark Turgeon from University of Maryland.