USA Fends Off Canada 103-80, Advances To U17 Gold Medal Game
-- U.S. Led To Difficult Win By Michael Gilchrist’s 30 Points And 15 Rebounds --
July 10, 2010 • Hamburg, Germany
USA forward Michael Gilchrist (St. Patrick H.S. / Somerdale, N.J.) was the player Canada had no answer for Saturday night as the USA defeated Canada 103-80 in the semifinals of the FIBA U17 World Championship in Hamburg Germany. Gilchrist, who has given a verbal commitment to play at the University of Kentucky, put the USA on his back in the victory and posted an eyebrow raising 30 points and 15 rebounds.
“It was a great game, both teams came out and competed very hard. We wanted to pick up our intensity on defense because they were getting a lot of easy baskets beating us down the floor. They came out ready to play, they didn’t back down, we knew they would give us there best punch and we just had to be ready,” said USA guard Marquis Teague (Pike H.S. / Indianapolis, Ind.).
“Again we got great energy and production from our bench,” said USA U17 World Championship Team and Mid-Prairie High School (Iowa) head coach Don Showalter. “We brought Tony Wroten, Marquis Teague and Michael Gilchrist off the bench, and those guys are just amazing coming in off the bench. For a lot kids that tough for them because these kids have never done that, but they have developed a great mindset for coming off the bench. A lot of that credit goes to Kevin Sutton and Herman Harried (USA assistant coaches). They’re sitting on the bench and getting those guys ready to go when they come in. They’ve been tremendous on the bench in guiding those guys through what needs to be done.”
With the win, the United States advanced into the gold medal game of the inaugural FIBA U17 Men’s World Championship. The USA will face 7-0 Poland in the 4 p.m. (local time) gold medal game. Poland held off Lithuania (6-2) 75-65 in the other medal round semifinal to advance.
“We’re looking forward to the gold medal game. We think it’s going to be a great game. Today’s (game) was a character game for us in many ways and I think tomorrow’s is going to be that way as well,” said Showalter. “For finishing fourth in the (European U16) U16 last year Poland certainly has made a big splash here. They’ve got size, and they’ve got some really nice forwards and guards that attack the basket well. They’re long and they seem to do a good job of handling the ball. They’re going to be a formidable opponent.”
Although the 103-80 final score could be interpreted as another USA rout, this contest was anything but.
The USA opened the game with a pair of free throws from Adonis Thomas (Melrose H.S. / Cordova, Tenn.), 3-pointers from Brad Beal (Chaminade College Prep H.S. / St. Louis, Mo.) and Quinn Cook (DeMatha H.S. / Bowie, Md.), and two more free throws from James McAdoo (Norfolk Christian H.S. / Norfolk, Va.) to jump out to a 10-5 lead.
Holding a 24-17 lead with the clock under a minute in the quarter, four different U.S. players contributed points as the red, white and blue closed out the opening quarter with a 6-0 run and take a 30-17 lead.
Gilchrist recorded all 11 USA points in an 11-4 run that opened the second quarter and the U.S. appeared to have the game in hand as its lead ballooned to 20, 41-21, with 6:50 still to go before half.
Following a Cook basket, the U.S. led 43-23 with 5:33 to play in quarter two. Canada switched to a zone defense and suddenly found life. Outscoring the Americans 19-5 to close out the first half, when the halftime horn had sounded the U.S. advantage stood at just six, 48-42.
The U.S. ripped off the third quarter’s first seven points to open a 55-42 advantage, but once more Canada regrouped and charged back. Mounting a 10-0 offensive run, Canada closed the gap to three, 55-52.
Gilchrist stepped up and completed an old-fashion three-point play and Anthony Wroten, Jr. (Garfield H.S. / Seattle, Wash.) got out on the break for a layup to up the U.S. lead to 62-54.
With the game’s outcome still in limbo and the USA clinging to a 64-60 lead, the Americans created some breathing room when over the third stanza’s final 3:08 it outscored its neighbor to the north 11-5 to take a 75-65 lead into the fourth quarter.
The USA finally put the game away with a 9-0 run over the fourth quarter’s first 1:25 that saw the USA lead grow to 84-65 and from there the U.S. went on to collect the 103-83 win
“I was just being aggressive and trying to get to the basket. We needed to get back to playing our game and attack the rim and pressure defense all the time,” remarked Gilchrist who made 11-of-15 shots and 8-of-10 free throw attempts.
“Michael Gilchrist really carried us. He’s so mobile and agile from the free throw line area and we just stuck him there against the zone and he made play after play after play; got to the free throw line, and had putbacks. While he was in there he made a big difference,” Showalter said.
After making 11-of-18 shots in the first quarter, the U.S. made just 29-of-69 shot the rest of the way.
“Their zone defense kind of spooked us. We weren’t use to it and we were confused for a minute. But then we got it back under control. We tried to beat their zone down the floor and we got a few chances to do that and things worked out,” commented Teague.
“I think what happened was Canada changed defenses to a zone and kind of got us standing around a little bit. We didn’t attack the zone real well, we weren’t aggressive, we settled for jump shots and they got the ball out and they were very aggressive going to the basket,” said Showalter.
Joining Gilchrist in double-figure scoring for the USA were Beal, 17 points; Thomas, 12 points; and McAdoo, 10 points. Cook, and André Drummond (St. Thomas More School / Middletown, Conn.) each added nine points, and Wroten Finished with eight points and six assists.
The USA outrebounded Canada by a 60-45 margin, including 28 offensive boards. In addition to Gilchrist’s 15 rebounds, McAdoo snatched 12, including six offensive.
“Rebounding was a key. We did outrebound them. I think we’re the number one rebounding team and they’re the number two rebounding team in the tournament so from that standpoint we knew we had to outrebound the, If they were going to beat us on the glass it was going to be a tough game,” said Showalter.
In Saturday’s game to decide 9th place, Argentina (3-4) defeated Spain 66-56 (2-5), while the 11th place game saw Egypt (1-6) earn its first win of the tournament with a 66-65 decision over South Korea (0-7). In the consolation semifinals, Australia (4-3) narrowly slipped past China (3-4) 68-66, and Serbia (3-4) bettered host Germany (3-4) 67-51.
Serving as assistant coaches for the 2009-10 USA Developmental National Team and 2010 USA U17 World Championship Team are Herman Harried, head coach at Lake Clifton High School (Md.), and Kevin Sutton, head coach at Montverde Academy (Fla.).
With nine players back from last summer’s U16 team that captured gold at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship, the team can draw on that experience and the USA’s Drummond plans to do just that. “To win the gold tomorrow, it’s going to take the same intensity it took last year in the gold medal game against Argentina. We’re going to have to have the same fire we had last year.”