2017 USA U16 Men Run Away With 127-52 Victory Over Mexico
Nine U.S. athletes scored in double figures as the 2017 USA Basketball Men’s U16 National Team (3-0) put on a clinic against Mexico (0-3) for a 127-52 victory at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship for Men on Friday afternoon in Formosa, Argentina. The undefeated U.S. squad advances to the June 17 medal semifinals as the top seed out of Group B and will face Argentina (2-1), which defeated Paraguay (1-2) 71-52 to take the second seed out of Group A.
All USA games will be streamed live on Facebook.com/USABasketball and YouTube.com/FIBA, and the tournament concludes with finals on June 18.
Zion Harmon (Bowling Green H.S./Bowling Green, Ky.) posted team-highs of 17 points and five assists, while also picking off three steals. De'Vion Harmon (John Guyer H.S./Corinth, Texas) scored 15 points; Vern Carey Jr. (University School/Southwest Ranches, Fla.) notched 14; Jeremy Roach (Paul VI Catholic H.S./Leesburg, Va.) finished with 13 points, four assists and two steals; Isaiah Todd (John Marshall H.S./Richmond, Va.), Romeo Weems (New Haven H.S./Chesterfield, Mich.) and James Wiseman (The Ensworth School/Nashville, Tenn.) notched 12 points apiece; Scottie Barnes (Cardinal Newman H.S./West Palm Beach, Fla.) chipped in 11; and Wendell Moore Jr. (Cox Mill H.S./Concord, N.C.) scored 10 points.
R.J. Hampton (Little Elm H.S./Little Elm, Texas), who scored four points, had three of the USA’s 24 assists and three of the team’s 15 steals.
“I think our team is tough to beat, because other teams have five people who can play,” said Weems, who posted a double-double after grabbing 11 caroms. “When we’re making subs, we’ve got fresh legs and just keep running and running until they’re tired. When they get tired, we just keep getting fresher and fresher.”
“I give credit to Mexico, they played really hard the whole game,” said USA U16 head coach Don Showalter. “Even down by 40 or 50 points, it didn’t matter. They still played really hard. I credit our kids the same way. We were not playing to the score. We were just playing hard and playing together. We had some really great passes to each other. They’re learning to play together, and I think that’s really a good thing.”
Wiseman, who had a four-inch height advantage over his Mexican opponent, won the opening tip, and nine seconds later Moore scored the game’s first points. Mexico evened it up, but another Moore jumper at 8:20 put the red, white and blue up for good.
Owning a 12-6 lead with 6:16 on the clock, the USA utilized an up-tempo offense and wasted no time in expanding its lead to 19-6 by the 3:40 mark. Mexico never brought the score closer than 11 points, and with time running out in the first quarter, Zion Harmon banked in a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to close the first stanza with a 33-15 lead.
That bucket jump-started a 17-0 run that included the first 2:37 of the second quarter and saw the U.S. squad, which had received points from nine different players by that time, pull away, 47-15.
“We were really locked in in the first half, defensively,” said Showalter. “Our kids are really coming together. Our turnovers were down in the first half, we only had four in the first half and ended up with 13 for the game. So, that was a big focus for us, taking care of the basketball.”
Mexico stopped the run with a point from the line at 6:33, but the USA outscored Mexico 23-4 to bring the halftime score to 70-20.
The USA won the third quarter 31-23 and the fourth quarter 26-9.
Taking advantage of its height, the USA outrebounded Mexico 43-27 and outscored Mexico 78-24 in the paint. The USA also held an 18-0 advantage on second-chance points, outscored Mexico 46-24 on the fast break and its bench held a 61-6 scoring advantage over Mexico. Further, the USA scored 25 points from Mexico’s 25 turnovers.
“Mexico is a very respectable team,” said Todd. “They never stopped playing hard. They played with a little edge. Even though they were down 30 points at the half, they still played hard.”
Jalen Suggs (Minnehaha Academy H.S./St. Paul, Minn.) was ill and did not play. He is listed as day-to-day.
In the other Group B game today, Puerto Rico (2-1) advanced to the medal semifinals and earned a 2018 U17 World Cup berth with a 94-88 win over Dominican Republic (1-2). In Group A, Canada (2-0) takes on Venezuela (0-2) and host Argentina (1-1) faces Paraguay (1-1) at 8 p.m. (EDT). The winner of that game will advance to face the USA Saturday night (time TBD). Canada has already clinched the top seed out of Group A and will meet Puerto Rico in the other medal semifinal contest.
“Who we play won’t change what we do,” said Zion Harmon. “We’re playing against ourselves. As long as we play to our potential, nobody in the world can beat us.”
With 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup for Men host Argentina advancing to the medal semifinals, the fifth-place finisher at this event, along with the four semifinal teams, will qualify for the 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup.
USA Basketball has claimed the gold medal in all four editions of the biennial event, which was first held in 2009, and under the direction of Showalter, the USA is now 23-0 in FIBA Americas U16 Championship action. Additionally, USA U16 men’s teams have scored 100 or more points in 18 of 23 games all-time at the competition.
Showalter is being assisted on the sideline by Scott Fitch (Fairport H.S., N.Y.) and Stan Waterman (Sanford School, Del.).
As of March 1, 2017, 13 of the 48 former USA U16 National Team members were under contract in the NBA, four were competing professionally in international leagues, 20 were competing in the NCAA and 11 were still in high school.
|2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championship|