The Finals of the FIBA Men U19 World Championships are now set and will feature the United States against Serbia on Sunday. The US qualified for the finale by pounding Lithuania 100:60 and the Serbians earned their spot in the final contest by edging Australia 63:58. In the qualifying rounds the US handed Serbia it’s only loss of the tournament with a 71:62 victory in the only contest the United States contingent didn’t win by 35 points or more.
The bronze medal game will be held prior to the championship game on Sunday between Lithuania and Australia in the first game they will play against each other.
Serbia was led by Nikola Jankovic’s 20P/16R double-double in securing their spot in the World Championship game. The Aussies got a 21-point performance from Dante Exum.
Australia jumped out to a 7:0 lead, only to have those seven counted by Serbia. They then ran off eight unanswered, only to have the Serbs go on a 17:3 run on their way to a 32:25 advantage at the mid-game break.
Jankovic nailed 11 straight for the Serbians to help them get up build a lead, but the Aussies countered with back-to-back triples from Kalau von Hofe, helping them pull back to within two at 45:43. Stefan Pot hit a jumper at the buzzer to close out the third 10 and give Serbia a 47:43 lead heading into the fourth.
von Hofe dropped a pair of three-balls within the final minute of the contest to pull the Australian’s to within a point at 59:58. Vasilje Micic split a pair of singles for Serbia, then Exum came up empty on a pair to blow an opportunity to knot the score with 14 seconds on the clock. Micic iced the contest with 11 ticks by hitting the cords with two free throws. Exum had another opportunity to get back in the game, but missed on a triple attempt and the Serbian club closed out the game with another single to set up the rematch with the Americans, this time for the World Championship.
In the first seven games the US had won every game by at least 35 points, with the exception being their match with Serbia (71:62). As their semi-final match-up with Lithuania tipped off, it was obvious early that the Americans were going to dominate this contest as they ran off the first 10 points of the game and then built a 25:14 advantage at the end of the first frame.
The club from the US was able to open a 47:26 margin at the half after surging with a 10:2 run.
As the second half began, the Lithuanians put forth a solid effort and were able to pull to with 17, 58:41, but then the Americans clipped off 10 straight to bump their lead to 72:44 at the end of the third. Lithuania couldn’t close the gap in the fourth and actually lost ground, giving the US a 40-point margin as the final buzzer sounded, sending the US to the ‘ship against Serbia on Sunday.