USA Men Top Lithuania 21-13, Advance FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cup Semifinals
The USA 3x3 U18 Men’s World Cup Team (4-0) defeated Lithuania (3-2) 21-13 with 2:17 left on the clock in the quarterfinals of the 2021 FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cup on Saturday in Debrecen, Hungary.
The USA will play Belarus (4-1) in the semifinals at 6:05 a.m. (all times listed are EDT) on Aug. 29. The second semifinal will feature Estonia (3-1) – Egypt (5-0) at 6:30 a.m. All games are streamed live at FIBA’s 3x3 YouTube channel.
On Aug. 29, semifinal winners play in the gold medal game at 2:05 p.m. and semifinal losers compete in the bronze medal game at 8:40 a.m.
“I think we played one of our best games today, just really locking in on who we were guarding, and knowing our personnel and knowing what we needed to do to get the win,” said Eric Dailey Jr. (IMG Academy/Tampa, Fla.). “I think our guys really focused in on what the coaches were saying, and we just executed what we were taught.”
The game was tied 2-2 and 3-3 before two scores from Keyonte George (iSchool of Lewisville/Lewisville, Texas) kicked off a 9-1 run, and the USA led 12-4 at 6:47 when Dailey made a 2-pointer.
Lithuania rallied to cut the margin to four points, 12-8, at 6:10, but the USA added four quick points to go ahead 16-8 at 5:09.
Lithuania attempted one final rally, scoring four consecutive points to close the gap to 18-13 at 3:28, but the USA closed out the 21-13 victory with two points from George and Dailey with the game-winning slam at 2:17.
“I think we did great executing on the defensive side of it and not letting them get going early with any 2-pointers, especially with a couple of their guys that are good shooters,” Gradey Dick (Sunrise Christian Academy/Wichita, Kan.).
Dailey had eight points, George tallied seven points, Dick added four and Kyle Filipowski (Wilbraham & Monson Academy, Mass./Slate Hill, N.Y.) had two points.
“We'll watch film on them and get all studied up,” Dick said of Belarus. “We watched one of their games in the past couple of days, and they look solid. They look like a good basketball team.”
The 2021 FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cup, which includes men’s and women’s U18 national teams, also features a dunk contest, skills contest and shoot-out-contest, with medals being awarded to the top three finishers in each event. Dailey. has advanced to compete in the dunk contest semifinals on Sunday.
“Belarus, we know they probably are going to try and shot a lot of 2-pointers,” Dailey said. “We're still scouting them. But we're just going to keep the same mentality of attack first and get the wins on defense. So, I think that's the main key here, is playing defense.”
The USA coach is Nick LoGalbo (Lane Tech College Prep, Ill.), with Kelly Carruthers (Bowie H.S., Texas) as the USA assistant coach, however, in FIBA 3x3 basketball coaching is not allowed during games.
The FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cup has been held annually since 2011, except in years that include a summer Youth Olympic Games (2010, 2014, 2018). In the five previous FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cups in which the USA men have played, the U.S. men have compiled a 33-11 overall record while winning gold in 2019 and silver in 2012.