The USA Basketball Men’s U18 team held off Canada 99-84 to win their fourth straight gold medal at the 2016 FIBA World Championship in Valdivia, Chile.
ESPN No. 7 ranked high school senior Markelle Fultz (DeMatha Catholic H.S./Washington) poured in a team high 23 points with 5 assists, No. 16 Jr Paul ‘P.J.’ Washington (Findlay Prep) scored 19, while No. 4 Jr Michael Porter (Nathan Hale H.S./Washington) added 15 points and 8 rebounds in Saturday’s win.
Fultz was named the FIBA tournament MVP.
The gritty Canada team was only down by only two points (84-82) with 3:57 left. But the US then clamped down on defense, holding Canada to only one bucket the rest of the way, while scoring 15 points to put the contest away.
“Canada played a really good game,” USA coach Shaka Smart told usab.com. “They shot the ball well from outside. I think our guys did a good job of keeping their composure. There were a couple times when we got up, and we let down a little bit. But then [when] Canada made runs, our guys kept composure and made good plays.”
Up 48-44 at the half, USA increased their lead to 75-63 at the end of the third quarter.
But the Canadians would not go away as red-hot Nickeil Walker (25 points) sank 3 of his 7 three pointers in the fourth quarter to get Canada within 2 points at 84-82, before the US closed the game on a 15-2 run.
The US crushed Canada on the boards 55-38 and their defense forced 14 Canadian turnovers which they turned into 27 points.
“It feels amazing,” P.J. Washington said of capturing the gold medal. “This is great to represent my country in this way, and I’m proud of all of the guys for winning this.”
For more basketball news go to http://www.blacktoptv.com/