USA Men's U18 Team Into Gold Medal Game With 104-92 Win Over Argentina
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The USA (5-0) advanced to the FIBA Americas Men's U18 Championship gold medal game for fifth-straight time after holding off a game Argentina (3-2) squad 104-92. The USA winning effort was led by 26 points from Quentin Grimes (College Park H.S./The Woodlands, Texas) and Coby White (Greenfield H.S./Goldsboro, N.C.) added 25 points.
The Americas will face Canada (5-0) in Saturday's gold medal game (8:15 p.m. EDT). Canada has earned two silver medals and three bronze medals at the men’s U18s, and advanced to the gold medal game after putting away Puerto Rico (3-2) 95-89.
“I thought Argentina played very well and smart,” said USA U18 and University of Kansas head coach Bill Self. “I think they exposed us in ways, because we’ve been able to be a little careless and loosie-goosey and not pay for our mistakes against some of our other opponents, and they made us pay for our mistakes when we weren’t very sound.
“It was a good win. Argentina’s really good. If they had their complete team (point guard Francisco Farabello was out), of course if we would have had (Tyrese) Maxey also, well … that may be a wash because Maxey’s playing so good. But, they’ve got a good team. Canada beating them the way they beat them in the first game, by 17, it may be as impressive a win that there’s been in the tournament so far.”
Argentina did what no other team had been able to do so far against the USA, keep it close. The U.S. led 24-18 in the first quarter and by halftime had expanded its advantage to 54-39.
Argentina outscored the U.S. 20-17 in the third to reduce the lead to 71-59 heading into the final 10 minutes, but the USA had an answer for every Argentina rally and for the fifth-consecutive game broke the century mark in recording a win.
“Our defense wasn’t the best tonight,” said White. “But, we’ll get back to the drawing board and we’ll be better defensively tomorrow.”
Matthew Hurt (John Marshall H.S./Rochester, Minn.) assisted the U.S. to the win with 16 points, Ayo Dosunmu (Morgan Park H.S./Chicago, Ill.) added 13 points, while Cole Anthony (Archbishop Molloy H.S./Briarwood, N.Y.) and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (Bishop Miege H.S./Shawnee Mission, Kan.) each tossed in 10 points.
The USA dominated the boards, outrebounding Argentina 47-28 as Grimes and Hurt each grabbed eight, and Josiah James (Porter-Gaud School/Charleston, S.C.) and Robinson each secured seven rebounds.
The U.S. made 51.8 percent of its shots and Argentina hit 50.0 percent of it tries. Argentina held the advantage from the foul line making 24-of-30 tries, while the USA was 11-of-16 from the charity line.
“Argentina was a tough team,” said Dosunmu. “We know we’re playing good teams out here in the FIBA (Americas U18) tournament. I knew and I tried to tell my team that it wasn’t going to be easy in the final four. But, at the end of the day it’s all about getting the W and we’re onto the gold medal game.”
The USA has captured the past five and eight of the 10 previous men’s U18 gold medals, and currently owns a 58-2 all-time record at the event.
“We need to lock down on defense,” answered Grimes of what it will take to win the USA’s ninth men’s U18 gold medal. “We gave up lot of fast 3s, we don’t know who we play tomorrow but defensively we have to lock down a lot more tomorrow to win in the gold medal game.”
In other action Friday, Dominican Republic (2-3) defeated Ecuador (0-5) 102-70 and Chile (2-3) edged Panama (0-5) 67-61.
Tyrese Maxey (South Garland H.S./Dallas, Texas) suffered a right ankle sprain in the USA’s June 12 game against Puerto Rico and did not play. He is listed as day-to-day.
Self is assisted by Anthony Grant (Dayton) and Danny Manning (Wake Forest).
FIBA Americas U18 Championship
Originally known as the FIBA Americas Junior World Championship Qualifier, the tournament was held every four years between 1990-2006. FIBA changed its calendar following the 2006 championship, and the tournament is now conducted every other year, followed in the next summer, for nations that advance, by the FIBA U19 World Cup.
Including its first five victories in 2018, USA men’s teams are 58-2 in the FIBA Americas U18 Championships and won gold in 1990, 1994, 1998, 2006, 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016, while capturing silver in 2008 and bronze in 2002.
Some of the most notable USA U18 alumni include: Carmelo Anthony (2002), Chris Bosh (2002), Markelle Fultz (2016), Quade Green (2016), Grant Hill (1990), Allan Houston (1990), Andre Iguodala (2002), Kyrie Irving (2010), Stephon Marbury (1994), Michael Porter Jr. (2016), Austin Rivers (2010), Kyle Singler (2006), Marcus Smart (2012), Deron Williams (2002) and Justise Winslow (2014).
Be sure to watch the gold medal game, streamed live on USA Basketball’s Facebook page, as the USA competes for a fifth-straight U18 gold medal.