USA U17 Men Run Past Mali to 97-40 Victory
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Once again relying on its stifling defense, the USA U17 Men (2-0) forced 37 turnovers out of Mali (0-2) in a 97-40 win in the 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup on July 1 at Union Athletic Club in Santa Fe, Argentina.
The USA also got 50 points off the bench to go with its 34 points off of turnovers, and all 10 available U.S. players had scored before halftime for a second-straight game.
“Mali is very physical, they battle you,” said USA U17 head coach Don Showalter (USA Basketball youth division coach director). “And so, the clock stopped a lot, and there didn’t seem to be a lot of flow to the game. So, having said that, I think our kids really did a nice job. We executed really well at times. Our defense was outstanding, again. When we hold a team like Mali to 40 points, it shows that we are really locked in defensively.”
Jalen Green (San Joaquin Memorial H.S./Fresno, Calif.) led the USA with 15 points; De'Vion Harmon (Guyer H.S./Corinth, Texas), Evan Mobley (Rancho Christian H.S./Temecula, Calif.) and Romeo Weems (New Haven H.S./New Haven, Mich.) each added 12 points; Isaiah Stewart (La Lumiere School, Ind./Rochester, N.Y.) tallied 11; and Vernon Carey Jr. (University School/Southwest Ranches, Fla.) finished with 10 points, including the USA’s first eight points of the game.
“I feel like we played pretty well,” Carey said. “We contained their main players, number five (Siriman Kanoute) and number 11 (Oumar Ballo), and coach had said if we do that, we’d be alright.”
Mali’s Siriman Kanoute had opened the tournament by scoring 37 points against Serbia (1-0) on June 30. Against the USA, he finished with 15 points on 4-of-15 shooting.
Additionally, Mobley shot 6-of-6 from the free throw line to tie the USA U17 men’s single-game free throw percentage record, and he grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.
“We played really well,” Mobley said. “We went out there and played for our country and represented well.”
With the game tied at 4-4, the USA put together an 11-0 run that seemed to generate all the momentum the USA needed for the remainder of the game.
After leading 21-6 at the first break, the USA continued to extend its advantage. The Americans led 52-21 at halftime and 74-30 after the third quarter before earning the 97-40 win.
“We played well,” said Jeremy Roach (Paul VI Catholic H.S./Leesburg, Va.), who finished with a game-high six assists. “In some spurts, we got a little sloppy. But, we wanted to maintain the lead after halftime, and we did that.”
Overall, the USA had 24 assists on 33 made baskets, while holding Mali to just 22.6 percent from the field (14-62 FGs).
R.J. Hampton (Little Elm H.S./Little Elm, Texas) did not play due to a right foot injury, and Scottie Barnes (University School/West Palm Beach, Fla.) did not play due to a left ankle injury. Both are listed as day-to-day.
The USA men wrap up preliminary round play against Serbia (2-0) at 7 p.m. EDT on July 3. All of the USA’s games in the FIBA U17 World Cup will be streamed live on the USA Basketball Facebook page at facebook.com/usabasketball.
Following the preliminary round, all teams will advance to the round of 16 on July 4. 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.
The USA’s assistant coaches are Scott Fitch (Fairport H.S., N.Y.) and Stan Waterman (Sanford School, Del.).
Also today in the USA’s Group B, Serbia beat China (0-2) 73-61. In Group A, Puerto Rico (2-0) defeated Dominican Republic (0-2) 84-69, and Turkey (1-1) overcame a late deficit to edge past Australia (1-1) 81-79. In Group C, Canada (2-0) topped Egypt (1-1) 93-53, and Montenegro (1-1) defeated New Zealand (0-2) 80-56. Finally in Group D, France (2-0) won against the Philippines (0-2) 95-54, while Argentina (0-1) will take on Croatia (1-0) at 7:30 p.m. EDT.