USA Men Improve to 2-0 at FIBA U17 World Cup
The USA Basketball Men’s U17 National Team secured their second victory in as many days after an 88-55 triumph over Slovenia at the FIBA U17 World Cup on Sunday at Palacio de los Deportes Elena Benítez in Malaga, Spain.
The game was played at a slower pace as the USA took 28 less shots than they did in the opener against Lebanon. However, the U.S. handled the stout test from Slovenia as the team used its defense to lead to offensive opportunities.
A critical stretch where the USA's defensive mindset made a considerable impact was right out of halftime. Up 40-24 at intermission, the USA opened the third quarter on a 14-2 run to extend the lead to 54-26. Slovenia was held to 1-for-9 shooting during that stretch with their turnovers leading to quick baskets for the U.S.
Overall, the USA forced 19 turnovers and turned those into 24 points. As a team, the U.S. had 15 steals, led by DJ Wagner’s four in 20 minutes. Including his four steals against Lebanon a day earlier, Wagner is currently tied for the World Cup lead in total steals.
On offense, the wealth was spread as four players scored in double-digits. Ron Holland nearly posted an identical stat line to his effort against Lebanon (16 points, rebounds, one steal) by recording 16 points, six rebounds and one block. The others with 10-plus were Cooper Flagg (12 points, eight rebounds), Ian Jackson (11 points, five rebounds) and Karter Knox (11 points).
The USA shot an impressive 58% on two-point field goals. The game plan to attack the rim was successful as the U.S. had 50 points in the paint. Playing team-oriented basketball, 50% of the USA’s baskets came via an assist (17 assists to 34 field goals).
Slovenia was led by Jan Vide and his 20 points. Vide was critical to his team, leading them in a majority of the statical categories. Vide finished with the game-high in points to go with team-highs in rebounds (six), assists (two) and minutes (32).
The U.S. leads Group C with one game remaining. The group phase concludes for the USA on Tuesday, July 5, with a matchup against Mali at 2:45 p.m. ET.
The World Cup bracket, beginning with the Round of 16, begins on Wednesday, July 6.
Fans can stream the games at www.youtube.com/FIBA.