For the third time since its inception, the United States won the gold medal in the FIBA U17 World Championships.
USA Basketball pulled away from Australia in the second half en route to a 99-92 victory on Saturday afternoon in Dubai.
Malik Newman scored 16 of his team-high 21 points in the first half. The U.S. captain also grabbed 11 rebounds. Jayson Tatum added 15 points, followed by Josh Jackson and Harry Giles with 13 each. Ivan Rabb had a strong showing off the bench. Dejan Vasiljevic led all scorers with 29 points for Australia and Tom Wilson added 23.
Australia was USA Basketball’s toughest opponent from start to finish. The U.S. led by 14 in the fourth quarter, only to have Australia cut the deficit to single digits and make it a two-possession game on multiple occasions in the final three minutes. The game was extended for several minutes, as USA Basketball struggled to close the game out from the free throw line.
Australia had doubled up the U.S., 14-7, in the early goings, but had difficulty competing on the boards, as USA Basketball took a 57-30 advantage in that department.
An interesting matchup was how Isaac Humphries, a highly-touted recruit heading to La Lumiere (Indiana) this season, would fare against the likes on Diamond Stone, Rabb and the other U.S. big men. First half foul trouble saddled Humphries on the bench, as he ended with eight points and six rebounds in 27 minutes.
USA Basketball previously won the gold medal in this tournament in 2010 and 2012.
Tonight’s bubble action. This post will be updated as the games are completed.
Cincinnati at UCF, 7:00 p.m.
Pitt at No. 12 Miami, 7:00 p.m.
No. 25 Wichita State at Drake, 8:00 p.m.
Ole Miss at Florida, 9:00 p.m.
Georgia at No. 22 Kentucky, 9:00 p.m.
Arkansas at Mississippi State, 9:00 p.m.
GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 10 West Virginia at No. 6 Kansas, 7:00 p.m.
The last time these two teams got together, West Virginia actually knocked off Kansas in Morgantown. It was the third time in the last three seasons that WVU has beaten KU at home. So there’s some revenge at stake here. But there’s also the whole Big 12 title race, which West Virginia currently leads. If the Mountaineers win tonight, they’ll be up by two games on Kansas with the tie breaker and just seven games left to play. The Jayhawks regular season title streak could be over if that happens.
THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 8 Michigan State at No. 18 Purdue, 7:00 p.m.
We think the Spartans are back to their early season form after wins over Maryland (at home), Northwestern, Rutgers and Michigan. If Michigan State really wants to prove something to the college basketball world, they will go into West Lafayette tonight and get a win. Denzel Valentine vs. Raphael Davis will be fun.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR
- Pitt will pay a visit to No. 12 Miami in a game the Panthers could really use a win in. Pitt hasn’t been the most consistent team in the country and without adding a few quality wins they could be looking at the bubble.
- Duquesne will be paying a visit to No. 19 Dayton, who moved into a tie for first place in the Atlantic 10 thanks to VCU’s loss on Saturday.
- Georgia is right there on the bubble, and they will have a chance to try and push themselves into a better spot when they play at No. 22 Kentucky tonight.
- Creighton probably has to win out to have a shot of making the NCAA tournament, and that includes tonight, when they host No. 5 Xavier.
- No. 7 Virginia will be hosting Virginia Tech, who picked off the Wahoos in Blacksburg earlier this year.
THE REST OF THE TOP 25
- No. 1 Villanova at DePaul, 8:30 p.m.
- No. 25 Wichita State at Drake, 8:00 p.m.