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.