The U17 USA team defended the FIBA U17 World Championship in Dubai by downing Australia for the second consecutive final, emerging with a 98-92 victory. During the 2012 tournament the US team marched to victory over the Aussies in the final, taking a 95-62 win to claim the gold. This time it was different and the competition favourites faced a more confident Australia outfit, with the unfancied team keeping pace for much of the game.
In the end though it was team USA that emerged with the gold medal to win its third consecutive FIBA U17 tournament, remaining the only nation to have won the competition.
USA vs. Australia, 98-92
A fast paced opening saw both teams pepper the basket in a high scoring first quarter that delivered plenty of spectacle for the crowd. After 10 minutes on the court the USA had eked out a lead, but it was a slender one at 28-27. In the second frame the defending champs looked better on their own perimeter and looked meaner in D, holding Australia to 16 points through the period. After finding enough buckets to score 22 points in the second quarter, the U17 USA players had opened a 50-43 lead at the long break.
The third stanza proved to be a pivotal period in the game as the US managed to keep a distance on the scoreboard, extending to double digits with the fourth quarter to come. It looked even better for the favourites at the start of the fourth as they extended to 14 points, but credit must go to Australia for fighting back, pouring in 28 points through the frame. Indeed, during the final three minutes the Aussie players had their American counterparts worried and it was a two possession game as the clock wore down. In the end the U17 USA team held on and secured the victory and the prize.
The US looked strong off the glass, taking 57 boards at both ends, while Australia could only manage 30. Malik Newman was a consistent scorer and rebounder for the winners as he looked good once again in a 21 points/11 rebounds double-double performance.
Dejan Vasiljevic was the high scorer with 29 points for Australia, while Thomas Wilson had a good all round game with 23 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds.