06 - 12
June 2022
Closing Ceremony
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USA take U18 Americas Championship gold after dominating Brazil

TIJUANA (Mexico) - The United States won their sixth consecutive FIBA Americas U18 Championship on Sunday after demolishing Brazil, 102-60, at Auditorio Zonkeys in Tijuana, Mexico.

Tad Boyle’s squad dominated in a similar fashion to what they did to every other opponent throughout the tournament, romping to the gold medal as the clear-cut best team of the competition.

It all started with an 11-0 run from the jump, as the Americans made a point to feed star center Kel’el Ware early and often. That resulted in seven quick points for the University of Oregon recruit, foreshadowing a long evening for the Brazilian interior defense.

And when things looked tough enough for the South Americans, they only got worse when Cam Whitmore checked into the game.

The small forward wound up showing his full offensive repertoire, including a lethal three-point shot. Whitmore, who has kept his commitment to the Villanova University Wildcats despite the shocking retirement of head coach Jay Wright, led the way for the red, white and blue with 30 points on 4/8 from downtown.

His 30 points were a tournament high for him, surpassing the 24 he notched against Puerto Rico in the group stage and the 27 he poured on Mexico in the semifinals. He also added 12 rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block for good measure.

The U.S. took a 35-point lead into the half, all but sealing the deal with 20 minutes to go.

The rest of the game brought much of the same, despite the best efforts from Eduardo Bersh and Reynan Camilo Dos Santos, the only players from Brazil to score in double digits.

Despite shooting 3/6 from downtown, Bersh was held to just 10 points and a pair of rebounds, while Dos Santos suffered mightily against an American defense that held him to 15 but on 6 of 22 from the field.

Team USA was masterful on defense, holding Brazil to just 22 points in the paint and eight fast break points. That allowed them to keep their opponent below 28 percent overall from the field, while sending them to the free throw line only 13 times.

And on offense, the whole arsenal was on display. Besides Whitmore’s 30 and Ware’s 21, every other U.S. player to see court time score at least one bucket.

Guard Mark Armstrong – another Villanova recruit – had nine points, three rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block. Eric Dailey Jr. added nine points and four rebounds, while finishing +25 in a little over 17 minutes of play.

Brazil was able to play the U.S. to close to a draw on the boards, even capturing 23 offensive rebounds. That allowed them to have a razor-thin edge (19-18) in second-chance points, but not anywhere enough to get themselves back into the game.

Vitor Galvani’s squad fought valiantly though, winning the fourth quarter 21-18 as Boyle emptied the American bench. Brazil not only walked away with the silver medal, but also punched their ticket to next year’s FIBA U19 World Cup in Debrecen, Hungary – along with third-place Canada and Argentina.

They just lacked the tools to stop an American offense that 23 assists in 42 made baskets and only 11 turnovers – all without the presence of Gregory “GG” Jackson.

The UNC-bound power forward averaged 14 points and eight rebounds in his first 2 games of the group stage before missing the rest of the tournament.

It didn’t change much in the end for a team that had the luxury of keeping all their players under 24 minutes of action in the gold medal game, including forward Anthony Black – their second-leading rebounding and top assist man.

That’s the nature of a team with right mix of depth and star potential. At the end of the game, Whitmore was named tournament MVP after averaging 18.7 points and 6.3 rebounds on 62.5 percent from the field and 45.5 percent on three-pointers.