Having dominated each of their prior seven games leading up to the gold medal game of the FIBA U17 World Championships, anything less that a victory would have been a bitter disappointment for the United States.
Kansas commit Conner Frankamp knocked down four three-pointers, three other Americans finished in double figures as Don Showalter’s team rolled to the 95-62 win over Australia.
Frankamp made seven of his nine shots from the field, and in addition to his perimeter shooting the United States proved to have too much size for the Australians to deal with.
2014 prospect Jahlil Okafor made eight of 12 from the field, finishing with 17 points and eight rebounds, and 2013 forward Justise Winslow posted another double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
And 2013 wing Jabari Parker looked as good as he had in the entire tournament on Sunday, scoring 12 points of 5-for-6 shooting from the field.
Defensively the United States was able to break the game open and fluster the Australians with a 2-3 zone, and with Australia lacking the size to hurt the US in the high post they resorted to firing away from deep.
Australia finished 9-for-42 from beyond the arc, and with the United States making 60.3% of their shots things got away from the Aussies.
“They bought into playing defense, for one thing,” said Showalter following the win. “You look at our defensive average and it was tremendous. So, they really bought into playing defense.”
Dante Exum and Ben Simmons were two of the best players in the tournament for Australia, but while Exum did manage to score 21 points Simmons was shut down by the biggest front court he saw in the event.
Simmons missed both of his shots from the field, finishing the game with two points and four rebounds.
Australia limited the United States to their smallest margin of victory in the first game of the tournament for both, an 89-67 victory on June 29.
Outside of their semifinal win over Spain (95-66), the Americans didn’t win by fewer than 30 points in any of their games on the way to the gold.
Photo credit: USA Basketball