USA Men Claim Group C at 2022 FIBA U17 World Cup
The USA Basketball Men’s U17 National Team won their third straight game decisively, 112-64 over Mali, on the final night of group phase at the 2022 FIBA U17 World Cup, ensuring their place atop Group C as the team moves on to the Round of 16.
The team held true to the phrase “slow and steady wins the race” as they faced their closest first-quarter margin and lowest first-quarter score of the tournament, 16-12. However, a full team effort continued to be the main story of the Americans’ play as they finished with their highest score total of the tournament (112). Their overall point differential for group play was a robust 157 (320-163).
Mali mounted a physical defense that proved challenging for the Americans at first. However, while they equalized at the start of the second, 18-18, it was the closest Mali would come to making the U.S. team fall behind as the red, white and blue slowly but surely gained ground to lead 55-32 at the half.
As was the case in Sunday’s game against Slovenia, the team came out strong after halftime and the USA pulled away for good via an 18-point scoring run spanning the end of the third quarter and into the fourth to make it 86-47.
On defense, the U.S. earned 36 points on 30 turnovers, including 18 steals. Johnuel ‘Boogie’ Fland led the pack with six of his own, missing tying USA Men's U17 record for steals in a game by one (Justise Winslow vs. France on 7/3/12).
The USA shot 47% from the field, 29% on 3-pointers and 64% from the line, matching their efforts against Slovenia. Nearly every player made it on the board by the end of the night in a true team effort.
Ian Jackson was once again the team leader with 26 points, his highest point total thus far. His game-high also included seven rebounds, one assist and a steal for good measure. Jackson also finished the group stage with the highest field-goal percentage on the team with 63% (25-40 FG).
Joining Jackson with 10-plus points was Ron Holland for a third consecutive game as he finished with 14 total, and Sean Stewart with 13. Cooper Flagg just missed the cutoff with nine points and seven rebounds for the night.
Mali’s efforts were spearheaded by Ladji Coulibaly who finished with 15 points while the team finished with 36% shooting from the field and 13% on 3-pointers.
The knockout stages begin on Wednesday, July 6, as the U.S. team goes head-to-head in the Round of 16 with the Group D fourth-place finisher, Egypt, at 12:15 ET.
Fans can stream the games at www.youtube.com/FIBA.