After coasting to a comfortable win over Argentina in the Round of 16 despite committing 26 turnovers on Wednesday, the United States U19 team faced a stiffer test Friday morning against Italy.
The Italians hung tough in the first quarter, with the United States taking control in the second quarter of what would eventually become an 86-65 victory. The win advances Sean Miller’s team into the semifinals of the FIBA U19 World Championships, where they’ll take on either hosts Greece or Spain on Saturday.
Jalen Brunson, who will play for Jay Wright at Villanova this upcoming season, led the way offensively with 17 points to go along with five assists and three steals. He was one of four players to score in double figures, with 2016 prospects Harry Giles (ten rebounds) and Josh Jackson scoring 14 points apiece and Jayson Tatum finishing with 12.
As a team the United States shot 54.2 percent from the field and compiled an offensive rebounding percentage of 55.2 percent, but once again turnovers were an issue as they racked up another 22 against Italy. Also of note for the United States is the absence of Arizona signee Allonzo Trier, who did not play after suffering a right ankle injury in the win over Argentina. It remains to be seen whether or not he’ll be able to play in Saturday’s semifinals.
Other teams in action with connections to college basketball are Australia and Canada, with both teams falling earlier Friday. The Australian team, which includes Nebraska commit Jack McVeigh, fell to Turkey 81-70 with McVeigh accounting for a team-high 14 points along with three rebounds.
Canada, whose team includes Oregon forward Dylan Brooks, Harvard forward Chris Egi, and UNLV’s Jalen Poyser and Justin Jackson (a 2016 commit), lost 84-71 to Croatia in another quarterfinal. Jackson led the way offensively with 20 points, and Brooks added 17 in the Canadians’ first loss of the event.