USA U17 Men Earn 82-46 Exhibition Win Over France
Taking on France (0-1) in an exhibition tournament prior to the 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup, the 2018 USA Basketball Men’s U17 World Cup Team (1-0) battled its way to an 82-46 win on June 26 at the Union Athletic Club in Santa Fe, Argentina.
Leading 18-15 after the first quarter, the USA turned on its pressure and pulled away from France in the second quarter. The USA led 41-26 at halftime and then outscored France 22-14 in the third and 19-6 in the fourth to earn the victory.
On June 27, the USA will play the winner of tonight’s late game between Serbia and Argentina.
“It was a typically international game – very physical, which was really good for our kids because they are not used to that physicality,” said USA U17 head coach Don Showalter (USA Basketball youth division coach director). “So, we learned a lot tonight playing France, which was a very good team. I was really proud of our kids, the way they really played disciplined defense. We caused 27 turnovers for the game, which, obviously when you cause that many, you are going to score a lot.”
Led by four players in double-figure scoring, the USA converted those 27 turnovers into 31 points and shot 52.0 percent for the game from the field (26-50 FGs).
Vernon Carey Jr. (University School/Southwest Ranches, Fla.), who shot a perfect, 7-of-7 from the field, finished with 18 points and six rebounds; Jeremy Roach (Paul VI Catholic H.S./Leesburg, Va.) added 14 points, four rebounds and four assists; and De'Vion Harmon (Guyer H.S./Corinth, Texas) and Isaiah Stewart (La Lumiere School, Ind./Rochester, N.Y.) each finished with 13 points.
Additionally, Harmon added six assists, Stewart collected six rebounds and Romeo Weems (New Haven H.S./New Haven, Mich.) grabbed a game-high eight boards.
“We played alright,” Harmon said. “In the first half, we were kind of slow. That’s what happens when you don’t warm up that well. But, we came back in the second half, and we turned it up. We started getting stops on defense. But, what I really liked tonight was that we played through the physicality. The refs weren’t calling much. We just had to stay mentally tough, and we came out with the win.”
The USA was whistled for 17 fouls, while France was called for 30.
“Our offense was a little stagnant, and we turned the ball over a little bit,” Roach said of the USA’s slow start. “We get have as many stops as we needed to, but in the second half we did that.”
The USA also got 44 points off of the bench, and the 82-46 win was its largest margin during the game.
“It was fun,” Stewart said of his first game played by FIBA rules. “International basketball is so different. But, since I’ve been here, I’ve found a way to have fun with it. I’m enjoying it, and I’m having fun playing with these guys.”
R.J. Hampton (Little Elm H.S./Little Elm, Texas) did not play due to a right foot injury and is listed as day-to-day.
The USA’s assistant coaches are Scott Fitch (Fairport H.S., N.Y.) and Stan Waterman (Sanford School, Del.).
The USA men, four-time U17 gold medalists who will be looking to defend a 30-0 record at the 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup, open against China on June 30, followed by Mali on July 1 and Serbia on July 3.
Following the preliminary round, all teams will advance to the July 4 round of 16. Round of 16 winners advance to the July 6 medal quarterfinals. The semifinals will be played on July 7, and the finals will be contested on July 8.