USA U17 Men Advance To Medal Semifinals After Dispatching Canada 113-59
July 6, 2012 • Kaunas, Lithuania
Tyus Jones (Apple Valley H.S. / Apple Valley, Minn.) and Justise Winslow (St. John’s School / Houston, Texas) combined for 39 points, 16 rebounds and eight assists to lead the 2012 USA Basketball Men’s U17 World Championship Team (6-0) as it distanced itself from Canada (3-3) in the second half for a 113-59 quarterfinals victory at the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship quarterfinals on Friday afternoon in Kaunas, Lithuania. Jones contributed game-bests of 22 points and six assists, while Winslow notched a double-double of 17 points and 13 rebounds.
The U.S. will face Spain (4-2) in the July 7 medal semifinals at 6:10 p.m. (11:10 a.m. EDT), while Australia (5-1), which defeated Argentina (3-3) 78-59, will square off in the other medal semifinal against the winners of tonight’s quarterfinals contest between Croatia (6-0) and Czech Republic (2-3). The entire medal round is available live online via FIBATV.com.
In addition to Jones and Winslow, who scored 12 points apiece in the second half, the USA’s winning effort was spurred by 15 points from Joel Berry (Lake Highland Prep School / Apopka, Fla.), and 10 points each from Chicago natives Jahlil Okafor (Whitney Young H.S. / Chicago, Ill.) and Jabari Parker (Simeon Career Academy / Chicago, Ill.).
“I give Canada a lot of credit,” said Don Showalter, USA and Iowa City High School head coach. “They came out very strong in the first half. They really powered the boards in the first half. Of their 30 points, they had 24 in the paint. We had to shore some things up in the second half. We respect all of our opponents a great deal, so we felt that at halftime we had to come out right away and establish our game. Fortunately we did that.”
“Shots were just falling for me,” said Jones. “I was putting the ball in the hole. It was just one of those nights for me. I take what the defense gives me. Setting up my teammates, just running the team is what I do. But I’ll take what the defense gives me and they were giving me shots tonight.”
Tied 13-13 with 4:07 left in the first quarter, the U.S. squad reeled off 11 consecutive points to go up 24-13 with less than a minute remaining in the period. By the end of the first quarter the USA was ahead 26-15.
Canada, which scouted the United States well and knew virtually every play called, kept up the pace and with 4:00 remaining before halftime trailed 36-24. However, the U.S. outscored its neighbors to the north 10-6 over the ensuing minutes for a 16-point halftime lead, 46-30.
“We would get the lead up and then we would stop boxing out,” Winslow remarked about how Canada managed to stay within reach in the first half. “Then they would get off the boards and that really kept them in the game. They were playing hard. It’s tough to get a good team out of the game in the first half. But, in the second half we kept pushing it, kept being aggressive and blew them out.”
The USA in the second half’s first five minutes received seven points from Jones and six from Winslow as it ran out to a 61-36 lead and never looked back.
From there, the red, white and blue put the hammer down defensively and outscored Canada 26-7 throughout the rest of the quarter to take a commanding 78-43 going into the final stanza.
“We always have these big halftime speeches,” said Parker, who hit both of his 3-point tries and grabbed eight boards. “Coming in after the second quarter coach talks to us and tells us what we have to do. Then we came out with the aggressiveness that we didn’t have in the first half. We just came out and killed it.”
After allowing Canada to score 24 points in the paint and six second-chance points in the first half, the USA’s defense held Canada to just two and zero, respectively, in the third quarter. Additionally, the USA outrebounded Canada 16-6 in the third, connected on 54.5 percent (12-22 FGs) of its field goals and limited Canada to a frigid 29.4 percent (5-17 FGs).
There was no letup in the fourth quarter as the USA outscored Canada 35-16 to close the game.
“We just played hard on defense, pushed the ball,” said Johnathan Williams (Southwind H.S. / Memphis, Tenn.) on how the USA was able to pull away. “We got a lot of fast-break points in the second half.”
In the end, the USA outrebounded Canada 59-36, and had 30 points from 22 Canadian turnovers, while Canada only managed 10 points off of the USA’s 16 miscues. Further, the U.S. outscored Canada 72-34 in the paint, 18-6 on the fast break and 58-18 off the bench. The USA’s high-powered offense connected on a sizzling 55.8 percent (48-86 FGs) from the field, while its defense held Canada to 33.8 percent (25-74 FGs) shooting.
Canada was led by 17 points from Justin Jackson and 12 from Tyrell Bellot-Green.
“It felt real good (to be back on the court), added Parker, who missed the last two games due to a sore foot. “It was very fun, getting to play with my teammates. I was very excited from the get-go because I haven’t played in two games. But, I can’t take it for granted. I have to play like that all the time, with a passion and for the enjoyment of it.”
The USA is a little familiar with Spain’s personnel. Both teams competed in and exhibition tournament in the Canary Islands June 24-25, along with Australia and Latvia, and the U.S. has watched some of Spain’s games here in Kaunas.
“They’re a very well-coached team,” said Jones. “They’re a very talented team as well. They play extremely hard. We’ll have to come out tomorrow and be focused, play hard and not let up at all.”
The USA is the defending championship at the U17 Worlds, which run through July 8 and feature 17-and-under national teams from 12 nations.
The inaugural FIBA U17 World Championship for Men was held in 2010. The USA captured gold with a perfect 8-0 record and former University of Florida standout Brad Beal was tabbed MVP of the tournament. The event is held every other year (2012, 2014, etc.). The USA qualified for this event by winning the 2011 FIBA Americas U16 Championship.