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United States U-19 team rolls to 109-67 win over Canada

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After going 6-0 in the preliminary stages of the Under-19 World Championships, the United Stated took on Canada in quarterfinal action with the winner advancing to the medal round.

Canada was able to hang around for much of the first half thanks to 12 points from Florida State signee Xavier Rathan-Mayes, but the Americans would eventually take command and pull away for the 109-67 victory.

Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart led seven U.S. players in double figures with 14 points, as Billy Donovan’s team once again put together a balanced outing offensively.

Once again the United States made good use of its advantage inside, scoring 62 points in the paint (making 61.4% of their two-pointers) and out-rebounding Canada 51-27 (17 offensive rebounds). Canada certainly could have used Trey Lyles, one of the top big men in the 2014 class, who missed the game due to an ankle injury.

Also reaching double figures for the United State were Michael Frazier, Aaron Gordon, Jahlil Okafor (12 points apiece), Montrezl Harrell (11 points), Elfrid Payton and Mike Tobey (ten points apiece). Okafor, who will be a senior in high school next year, led the way with eight rebounds.

Joining Rathan-Mayes in double figures for Canada were Harvard sophomore forward Agunwa Okolie (13 points) and Syracuse signee Tyler Ennis (11 points).

Next up for the United State is Lithuania, which beat China 89-59 on Friday.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Akron reveals special bobble heads for LeBron, high school teammates

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When it comes to discussing some of the game of basketball’s best players, specifically those who went directly from high school to the NBA, a question that’s often asked is where said player would have attended college if forced (by rule) to do so. Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are among those who have been discussed in this manner, and in the case of LeBron he’s got connections to two programs within his home state of Ohio.

LeBron’s connected with the Ohio State program, which is outfitted by the Nike’s LeBron signature line, but there’s another program with an even closer connection. That would be Akron, which is led by head coach Keith Dambrot, and all he did was serve as LeBron’s high school coach at St. Vincent/St. Mary’s HS in Akron during the player’s freshman and sophomore years at the school. Also on those teams were two future Akron Zips in guard Dru Joyce and forward Romeo Travis.

Thursday the school announced that it would be honoring James, Joyce and Travis with bobble head dolls to be given out before Akron’s home games against Buffalo (February 16; Joyce’s bobble head), Bowling Green (February 26; Travis) and Ohio (March 1; James).

All three bobble head dolls are wearing Akron uniforms, which in the case of LeBron allows fans to think back and imagine what could have been. Season ticket holders guaranteed one bobble head per account (on each of the three giveaway days), with the first 750 fans in attendance to receive one as well.

NEW PODCAST: Indiana, Cal, troublesome trends and a weekend preview

California's Jabari Bird celebrates a score against Oregon in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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The gang is back together again for another episode of the NBCSports.com College Basketball Talk Podcast, with Rob Dauster hosting and Raphielle Johnson and Scott Phillips joining him. Today’s episode touched on big wins picked up Thursday night by California and Indiana, discussing the performances of those teams and also touching on their prospects down the line.

Also discussed were the recent performances of Iowa State, Providence and Texas A&M (which are you more worried about?), and some of the top games on this weekend’s schedule headlined by Kansas visiting Oklahoma. And if you’re a fan of seafood, you may take umbrage with some of Rob’s comments at the beginning of the podcast.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast on either iTunes or Stitcher, and there’s also a link to listen to this podcast below. Thanks for listening.