Cooper Flagg Leads USA Over Serbia at FIBA U17 World Cup
The USA Basketball Men's U17 National Team advanced within two games of a gold medal on Friday by defeating Serbia 106-80 at the 2022 FIBA U17 World Cup at Palacio de Deportes José María Martín Carpena in Málaga, Spain.
The USA found themselves playing from behind for the first time this tournament, as Serbia drew first blood. However, while the game remained close, the U.S. remained focused and never trailed after taking the lead late in the first quarter. An 11-0 run finally saw the USA on top 26-18 after 10 minutes of play.
Jeremy Fears Jr. started the run with a layup while a 3-pointer by Asa Newell off a David Castillo defensive rebound put the U.S. ahead for the first time. Cooper Flagg had a defensive rebound, then rebounded his own missed layup to nail it on his second go-around, in a series emblematic of the USA’s determination in the first half.
Despite being out-shot overall by Serbia in the first half, the U.S. men held advantages in both 3-point shooting (50% to 22%) and free throws (55% to 50%). They went into the intermission up, 48-36.
The U.S. pulled away and didn’t look back entering the fourth quarter, achieving their fourth 100-point game of the competition. Johnuel ‘Boogie’ Fland doing the honors with a 2-point jump shot to send the U.S. over the century mark.
Pacing the team was Flagg, who was a machine on the court as he finally achieved the elusive double-double. He finished with 18 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Also with a standout performance was Newell who finished with a perfect 100% shooting percentage for 12 points and three rebounds.
Several other players showed up in force on Friday. Koa Peat had 17 points and six rebounds and Fland had 11 points. Castillo and Ron Holland each finished with 10.
The U.S. ended their day with 47% (38-81 FG) from the field, 50% (12-24) on 3-pointers and 67% (18-27 FT) from the line.
Serbia was led by Lazar Gacic's 14 points and four rebounds.
Next up for the USA is Lithuania in the semifinals on Saturday, July 9.
Fans can stream the games at www.youtube.com/FIBA.