USA Basketball U17 team beats Spain, advances to gold medal game at FIBA World Championship

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The United States U17 basketball team continued its overseas dominance Saturday afternoon, beating Spain, 95-66, to advance to the gold medal game of the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship.

“I thought Spain was very, very prepared for us. They did a lot of very interesting things to us defensively and kind of threw us off a little bit,” said USA coach Don Showalter in a release. “I thought our kids played through some adversity tonight. We really showed what kind of team we are, especially in the second half.”

Justise Winslow, a Top 10 player in the Class of 2014, led the way for the Americans with 17 points, 13 rebounds, and two blocks. Kansas commit Conner Frankamp continued a strong overseas showing with 13 points.

The United States led by just six points at halftime, but was able to crack a 2-3 zone to pull away in the second half.

“[The zone] disrupted our offense,” said Winslow of Spain’s defense. “They’re pretty long and their guards up top are active. It just gave us trouble. We were turning the ball over a lot. I think we were focused, I just don’t think we were concentrating on attacking the zone in certain spots. They played really well the first half.”

Showalter and the Americans now move on to play sharpshooting Australia in the gold medal game, looking to defend their U17 title. Australia hit 15 three-pointers in a win over previously undefeated Croatia to advance.

The gold medal game will take place Sunday at 1:30 PM EDT.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_