At the world under 19 championships, Team USA remains undefeated through seven games as they continue their push for a gold medal. After updating you on their performance through the first three games, we have returned to recap their last four.
Following their defeat of Russia, they squared off against the Brazilian squad and in a game that was, considering the results of their firs three games, closer than what they were used to. The USA still managed to pull out a big win at 91-66. Leading the way on offense for team USA was Duke’s Rasheed Sulaimon who caught fire from downtown and draining five of his nine three point attempts to finish with 15 points. Aaron Gordon, headed to Arizona, also had a fantastic all around performance collecting 14 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, four steals and a block. He continues to be the most exciting player to watch on the team as his leaping ability and quickness always have a chance to leading to a crazy dunk or amazing block.
The next day, it was Australia’s turn to face the USA and it didn’t go so well for them. The States crushed them, 94-51 in a game that never even seemed close. Aaron Gordon led in scoring with 15 as USA came out with an extremely balanced attack that saw five players score into the double digits. Justice Winslow picked up a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds as the high schooler keeps showing how special he will be once he arrives to the NCAA. Winslow is one of the best rebounding guards in recent memory and his motor just doesn’t allow him to let up.
After the Australians, came the Serbians who gave the USA a legitimate scare. The game was close all the way to the wire and the USA was able to pull out a 71-62 victory. It was their first win in the tournament that did not come by way of double digits. Jahlil Okafor, the only other high schooler on the roster, had a great performance on the offensive end, attacking the rim with abandon and leading the way with 16 points. Aaron Gordon was the team’s mot complete player, chipping in 11 points, nine rebounds, one assist, two steals and three blocks. His inside presence was a major key in the USA being able to hang on to the lead and come away with a narrow victory.
The biggest reason that the Serbians were able to keep the game so close was because of point guard Vasilje Micic. Against some stiff competition, Micic looked undaunted as he put on a great scoring performance by scoring 24 points, many of them through free throws. He was active and attacking the rim all night that put a lot of the big men in foul trouble and fouled out point guard Marcus Smart. It was a performance that might put him on the map for some NBA scouts as he showed that he had amazing basketball skills.
Finally, unfortunately for this Canadian, the USA’s most recent game was yesterday against Canada. It didn’t go so well for the Canucks as the States rebounded from a tough game against Serbia to punish the Canadians, 109-67. The scoring was once against extremely balanced as seven Americans scored at least 10 points. Leading the way was Marcus Smart who had his best showing of the tournament as he is still coming off a wrist injury.
To defend Canada, I will blame the lopsided loss on the fact that Andrew Wiggins was not taking part in the competition. Had he been there, the game would have been a much closer affair.
The USA will face off against Lithuania tonight, a team that has a record of 6-1 and could stand to give the Americans some competition.