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USA roll past France, win fifth straight U17 World Cup title
SANTA FE (FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup) - United States remained the dominant kings of the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup as they clinched their fifth straight title with a resounding 95-52 victory over France in the 2018 Final.
Isaiah Stewart paced four USA players in double figures with 15 points to go with 9 rebounds while De'Vion Harmon scored 14 points, Romeo Weems had 12 points and 9 rebounds and Jalen Green chipped in 11 points.
In locking up their fifth consecutive U17 crown, the United States extended their winning streak to 37 games, dating back to the inaugural event in 2010.
France meanwhile had already secured their best-ever showing just by reaching the Final and can head home happy with a second-placed showing.
Killian Hayes was France's top performer in the game with 10 points while Maxime Carene chipped in 9 points and 4 blocks. But all that was not enough, especially since the big three of Hayes, Malcolm Cazalon and Theo Maledon combined for just 24 points - 23.1 points below their average coming into the game.
The American defense stifled the French in the early going and built a 12-7 lead, which Don Showalter's men extended to 19-13 on Green's three-pointer. The gap was 23-14 after 10 minutes.
France continued to fight and had trimmed the gap to 25-20 with six minutes left in the first half. But the Americans buckled down defensively and went on a 20-2 run to open a 45-22 advantage. Hayes knocked down a three-pointer just before the half-time buzzer and it was 45-25 at intermission.
There was no making in-roads into the USA advantage in the third quarter as France first off could not get any spots on defense and the Americans remained determined to not let any actions come easy - predominantly on France's famed trio. The gap was 77-38 after three quarters.
The drama was over and the fourth quarter really only offered the USA players chances for some highlight reel plays and a countdown to the celebration for the now five-time U17 World Cup champions.