USA, France book date for 2021 title - Canada to battle Serbia for third place
RIGA / DAUGAVPILS (Latvia) - Reigning champions United States and first-time finalists France will square off for the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2021 title after both teams reached the Final in thrilling Semi-Finals match-ups against continental rivals.
United States got past North American nemesis Canada thanks to a big fourth quarter run - making good for the last time these two teams played in a U19 World Cup Semi-Finals as Canada won in 2017 en route to the country's only global title. France meanwhile fought back from 14 points down and prevailed over fellow European powers Serbia. France's win secures them their best-ever performance in the competition after third-placed finishes in 2007 and 2019.
USA 92-86 Canada
Summary: United States used a 17-0 fourth quarter run to fend off continental rivals Canada and book their ticket in the Final. The Americans had led by 15 points but saw Canada get within one point in the third quarter and then put them away with the final punch.
Game Heroes: Kenneth Lofton scored 16 points while Mike Miles collected 15 points and 5 assists and Chet Holmgren added 12 points, 8 rebounds and 6 blocks.
They Said: "We just had to increase our energy. We were turning the ball over and not boxing out and giving up rebounds. We went on a run and went up 20 and kept going.." - USA guard Mike Miles
France 75-69 Serbia
Summary: France made history by reaching the Final of the competition for the first time thanks to a hard-fought victory over Serbia. France struggled finding their way with star Victor Wembanyama on the bench in foul trouble. But they rallied without him to come back from a 14-point deficit and led in the fourth quarter when Wembanyama came back and had an impact on the win.
Game Heroes: Jayson Tchicamboud paced France with 19 points and Matthew Strazel collected 8 points and 10 assists.
They Said: "It’s an amazing feeling. We made history. But we don’t want to stop here. We have to finish the job tomorrow." -France forward Clement Frisch
Lithuania 107-81 Argentina
Summary: Lithuania grabbed a spot in the game for fifth place as they cruised past Argentina. Lithuania jumped out to a big lead in the first quarter and allowed Argentina to pull within six points, but the Europeans ended up pulling away. Dominykas Stenionios led the way with 22 points and 7 assists for Lithuania.
They Said: "We did great in the first quarter but we let Argentina come back in the second quarter. We came back and did a good job in the second half. ” -Lithuania center Motiejus Krivas
Spain 83-67 Senegal
Summary: Spain bounced back from a disappointing loss in the Quarter-Finals by beating Senegal to play for fifth place. Spain jumped ahead in the first quarter by double digits and never looked back. Aitor Etxeguren poured in 16 points to pace five Spanish in double figures.
They Said: "I’m very proud of this team’s performance because yesterday was a tough loss. But today we showed that we are Spain. We have to defend and play for our country and we did that." -Spain guard Juan Nunez
Turkey 84-61 Iran
Summary: Turkey will play for 9th place after they battled past Iran. The Turks took control of the game in the second quarter. Tiber Gorener led the way with 18 points.
They Said: "We didn’t start the game that well but then in the second half we made it a 20-point game and was it. It wasn’t an easy game. We had to put in a lot of energy." -Turkey forward Berke Buyuktuncel
Australia 89-44 Latvia
Summary: Australia will be aiming for ninth place for a second consecutive competition as they rolled past hosts Latvia. Australia allowed just six points in the first quarter and Dyson Daniels tallied 19 points for the winners.
They Said: "It definitely wasn’t as easy as it looked. It was definitely a fight out there. The Latvian team is coached very well. They run their plays. But we just executed the scouting report and just played hard out there, played good defense." - Australa center Yaak Yaak
Puerto Rico 99-89 Korea
Summary: Puerto Rico will be playing for 13th place after knocking off Korea thanks to a fourth quarter push. The game was tight until the final period when the FIBA Americas side managed to clear some space. Phillip Wheeler paced the winners with 31 points while Rafael Pinzon scored 22 points and Aaron Clark chipped in 12 points and 12 assists.
They Said: "At halftime we talked about playing together and team work and talked about our strengths and weaknesses. We tried to maximize on our strengths and minimize all the weaknesses that we had. In the second half we really did what we were talking about in the locker room and improved on it." -Puerto Rico guard Phillip Wheeler
Mali 104-66 Japan
Summary: Mali picked up their first victory of the tournament as they cruised past Japan to set up a date with Puerto Rico for 13th place. The 2019 second-placed finishers Mali gave up just seven points in the second quarter and Oumar Ballo paced six Mali players in double figures with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
They Said: "We started the game with a high standard and finished with the same standard. We had from the beginning the mindframe to win the game, and we finished the game strong." - Mali guard Abdramane Kanoute