USA Basketball U18 wins the FIBA Americas gold over Canada

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The United States U18 national team captured the 2014 FIBA Americas gold medal with a 113-79 win over Canada on Tuesday night at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

Justise Winslow, the Duke signee, finished with a double-double with a team-high 20 points and 10 rebounds. Arizona-bound Stanley Johnson scored 19 and three reserves — Jalen Brunson, Isaiah Briscoe and Luke Kennard — all scored in double figures. Canada was led by Findlay Prep (Nevada) 2015 small forward Dillion Brooks with a game-high 27 points. Huntington Prep (West Virginia) wing Montaque Gill-Caesar added 22 points.

The United States had yet to be tested entering the gold medal game. After 14 combined turnovers in the first quarter — 45 in all — Canada had cut the U.S. lead to two, twice, in the first few minutes of the second quarter.

The Canadian team has high-major college talent such as Gill-Caesar, No. 22 in the Class of 2015, according to Rivals, and Harvard-commit Chris Egi. The best non-American in the field was Brooks, the three-star recruit, who ended as the tournament’s leading scorer. But the U.S. roster was too deep, as almost all 12 players saw 10 or more minutes on Tuesday night.

The depth continued to fuel the Americans’ defensive pressure, and helped create some separation in the second quarter. Canada committed four turnovers in a 90-second span, which let U.S. extend the lead to 30-21. The U.S. would build on that lead, which got as high as 16 in the second quarter.

The U.S. entered halftime with a 49-35. Canada would never cut into that deficit in the second half. The United States won every game this week by at least 34 points.

This is the the third time Billy Donovan had led Team USA to gold. In 2012, he led the U18 team to gold, followed by winning U19 gold the next season. Providence’s Ed Cooley and Arizona’s Sean Miller served as assistant coaches.

The Dominican Republic won the bronze medal with a 64-53 win over Argentina.

FIBA Americas

Illinois’ injury woes continue as starting center needs knee surgery

George Niang,Abdel Nader,Mike Thorne, Jr.
AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser
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Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.

Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.

Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.

The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.

John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.