USA U17 Men Wrap Up 93-61 Win Over Serbia and No. 1 Seed Into Round of 16
Once again relying on defensive pressure and transition offense, the USA U17 Men (3-0) jumped out to an early lead against Serbia (2-1) and then continued to apply pressure on its way to a 93-61 win in the 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup on July 3 at Union Athletic Club in Santa Fe, Argentina.
The USA’s victory secured its No. 1 seed into the round of 16 play, where it will meet Dominican Republic (0-3) at 4:45 p.m. (EDT) on July 4. 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.
“Serbia really is a good team,” said USA U17 head coach Don Showalter (USA Basketball youth division coach director). “They are very disciplined. They run really good sets. I thought our kids were really well prepared. I give a lot of credit to coach Fitch and coach Waterman, who had the scouting report on Serbia. I thought they did a great job of letting us know what they were going to run. And, us causing 38 turnovers for the game, I thought our defense was outstanding at times. Overall, I was really proud of the game tonight. I thought the kids really took this as one of those games where we had to get out quick, and we did.”
Jumping out to a 9-0 lead to start the game, the USA went on to force 38 turnovers, which it converted into 41 points, and collect 23 steals. Through three games, the USA is averaging 39.3 forced turnovers per game.
Additionally, the USA set an overall event and USA men’s U17 single-game record with 48 free throw attempts.
Vernon Carey Jr. (University School/Southwest Ranches, Fla.) was the USA’s high scorer with 16 points and nine rebounds; De'Vion Harmon (Guyer H.S./Corinth, Texas) added 15 points, four assists and five steals; Jalen Green (San Joaquin Memorial H.S./Fresno, Calif.) scored 11 points; and Jeremy Roach (Paul VI Catholic H.S./Leesburg, Va.) rounded out the double-digit scorers with 10 points.
“Our defense and the fast break points we get, it just makes it easier to get a lead on teams,” Carey said. “I think that is our main strength is our transition game.”
The USA maintained its 11-point, first quarter lead through most of the second period, and then closed the first half with an 8-0 run to go ahead 47-28 at halftime.
Serbia cut the deficit to 12 points in the third quarter, 49-37, with 7:41 on the clock, but after a U.S. timeout, the Americans compiled 13 unanswered points and outscored Serbia 20-10 to enter the fourth quarter leading 69-47.
The USA did not let up in the fourth, increasing its lead by 10 points to finish with the 93-61 victory.
Isaiah Stewart (La Lumiere School, Ind./Rochester, N.Y.) grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds to go with eight points, and Romeo Weems (New Haven H.S./New Haven, Mich.) blocked four shots to go with his seven points.
“Our defensive intensity has been crazy – we play so hard,” said Wendell Moore Jr. (Cox Mill H.S./Charlotte, N.C.). “And, every player that comes off the bench keeps that energy going.”
For a third-straight game, all available U.S player scored. R.J. Hampton (Little Elm H.S./Little Elm, Texas) did not play due to a right foot injury, and he is listed as day-to-day.
The other round of 16 matchups include: Australia (2-1) - Mali (1-2) at 12:15 p.m. (all times listed are EDT); New Zealand (0-3) - France (3-0) at 12:45 p.m.; Turkey (2-1) – Serbia at 2:30 p.m.; Canada (3-0) - Philippines (0-3) at 3 p.m.; Egypt (1-2) - Croatia (2-1) at 5:15 p.m.; Puerto Rico (2-1) - China (0-3) at 7 p.m.; and Montenegro (2-1) - Argentina (1-2) at 7:30 p.m.
The round of 16 winning teams will advance to the July 6 medal quarterfinals in Santa Fe, Argentina, and the semifinals will be played on July 7 and the finals 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, Mali won against China 83-71. In Group A, Australia (2-1) edged out Puerto Rico (2-1) 68-66, and Turkey beat Dominican Republic 95-62. In Group C, Canada topped New Zealand 97-61, and Montenegro defeated Egypt 77-67. Finally, in Group D, France beat Croatia 79-51, and Argentina fended off Philippines 74-71.