USA Men Advance to FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cup Quarterfinals with 4-0 Record
The USA Men (4-0) finished off preliminary round play at the FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cup with a 21-14 win over Belarus (0-4) and, in the final game of the night, a 21-10 defeat of host Mongolia (3-1) on June 6 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
The USA will play in the last men’s quarterfinal against Italy (3-1) at 3:35 a.m. EDT on June 7. All of the FIBA 3X3 U18 World Cup games are being streamed live at youtube.com/FIBA3x3.
“I think just the team chemistry, knowing whatever it takes to win, just sacrificing,” said Ethan Morton (Butler H.S./Butler, Pa.) of the team’s balanced offensive attack. “Some games, everyone is going to score. Some games, maybe two guys are going to carry the load. It just depends on the game plan, the matchups and just trusting in each other that whatever it takes, we can get it done.”
In its 21-14 win over Belarus, Dawson Garcia (Prior Lake H.S./Prior Lake, Minn.) had eight points, Nimari Burnett (Prolific Prep/Chicago, Ill.) contributed seven and Morton added five points.
Against host Mongolia in front of a packed crowd, the USA was in control for most of its 21-10 win. After leading 6-1 early in the game, Mongolia came within four points, 13-9, at the midway point, but the USA gave up just one more score by Mongolia from there and reached 21 points with 38.0 seconds left on the game clock. Devin Askew (Mater Dei H.S./Los Angeles, Calif.) and Garcia each had eight points.
“I think it was probably was one of the coolest experiences as a basketball player you can have, just playing against a team, it’s their country they are playing in,” Morton said of the USA’s final preliminary round game versus the hosts. “The fans were unbelievable. The level of play was very high. I think it came down to the game plan of taking away 2s, because that is what they like to do. We really just locked in defensively and didn’t let them get any momentum early, and that carried us the rest of the way.”
The men’s quarterfinals begin at 1 a.m. EDT on June 7 with Turkey (4-0)–Mongolia (3-1), followed by Argentina (4-0)–Ukraine (3-1) and Russia (4-0)–Romania (3-1).
Quarterfinal winners will advance to the semifinals, and the bronze and gold medal games will be played at 6:55 a.m. and 8:40 a.m. EDT, respectively, on June 7.
“Just the history, for the USA guys never having won a gold medal and just getting to represent your country on the biggest stage tomorrow,” Morton said of his thoughts heading into the quarterfinals.
“It will be a really hard challenge for us, but I think we are all excited and up to the task. So, we will see.”
The FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cup has been held on an annual basis since 2011, except in the years of the Summer Youth Olympic Games (2010, 2014, 2018). Twenty men’s and 20 women’s teams are competing in the 2019 event. In addition to the men’s and women’s 3x3 tournaments, included in the 2019 3x3 program are skills contests, giving athletes chances to win additional medals.
Teams participating in the 2019 FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cup for Men include: host Mongolia, the 2018 Youth Olympics Games gold medalist Argentina, Belarus, Brazil, China, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Italy, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and the United States.
Including results from the 2010 Youth Olympic Games, which was a 3x3 U18 competition, and results from the six FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cups held between 2011-2017, the USA men are 37-15 all-time and earned the silver medal in 2012 and placed 4th in the 2010 Youth Olympic Games.
With the inclusion of 3X3 in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, fans will see the launch of a new basketball discipline in Olympic competition. The exciting and fast-paced game officially was unveiled at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games.
Played on a half court with a 10-minute clock, and a 12-second shot clock, the first team to 21 points, or the team in the lead at the end of regulation, is the winner.