USA Basketball’s U18 team motored into the gold medal game at the FIBA Americas Championship on Tuesday after pasting Argentina in the semifinals, 107-72.
Seven U.S. players finished the night in double figures, while all 12 players on the roster factored into the scoring. Texas high school sensation Julius Randle (uncommitted) led the way with 15 points and Duke pledge Rasheed Sulaimon chipped in 14.
Sulaimon and Maryland-bound forward Jake Layman (10 points) teamed up for four of the team’s five made 3-point field goals. Shaq Goodwin (13 points, signed Letter of Intent to play at Memphis), Rodney Purvis (11 points, signed L.O.I. to play at NC State), Nate Britt (10 points, verbally committed to North Carolina) and Tennessee freshman Jarnell Stokes (10 points) all scored in double figures as well.
Team USA shot a blistering 54.8-percent from the floor, despite only hitting 5-of-18 shots from behind the arc. The Americans took a 53-38 lead into halftime, then motored out of the gates in the second half.
Goodwin and Stokes ignited the early second half run with strong interior play. Argentina could not contain the big duo in the third quarter, when Team USA pounded the ball inside almost every trip down the floor.
The U.S. handled Argentina on the glass, winning the rebounding battle, 44-27. Argentina hung relatively close in the first half by getting timely perimeter shooting, but when the Argentinians went cold from downtown, the Americans made their move.
Most of the game was played at a helter skelter pace, a big edge to the deeper and athletically superior U.S. team. Argentina tried to slow down the game, trying to settle into half court sets and spring free jump shooters. But the U.S. ultimately wore down the Group B No. 2 seed and dictated the tempo.
Team USA will face the host Brazil in a rematch on Wednesday for the gold medal. Brazil, which dealt Group-B-winner Canada its first loss, gave the U.S. its toughest challenge of tournament thus far. The Americans topped the Brazilians, 83-64, in the final game of Group A play.