Congratulations from BallinEurope this morning go out to Team USA, which took the FIBA U19 World Championship title in finishing an undefeated romp through the tourney by taking care of business against Serbia last night, 82-68. Kudos, too, to Team Serbia and Lithuania, who did European basketball proud by taking the other two spots on the podium, the latter outlasting Australia in a 106-100 consolation-game barnburner.
BiE also loves FIBA’s “Assist of the [Championship] Game” nod given to Vasilje Micic. Micic’s fancy move to the basket has him finding center Doko Salic under the hoop for a (relatively) easy two and what would ultimately be Serbia’s biggest lead of the game at 9-4…
Official FIBA writeup and full official highlight clip follow.
(FIBA) – The United States restored pride at the U19 age group as they used a 13-1 fourth quarter run to pull away and win the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship title with an 82-68 win over Serbia in the final.
Montrezl Harrell had 17 points, four rebounds and four blocks to lead a balanced offense for the Americans, as four players scored in double digits. Nigel William-Goss added 15, Rasheed Sulaimon had 12 and team captain Marcus Smart chipped in with 11.
The USA rebounded from going without a medal at the 2011 edition of the tournament to clinch an undefeated gold for the fourth time. They also did so in 1979, 1991 and 2009.
It is the Americans’ record fifth U19 World Championship title.
“I’m very honored to have had the chance to represent our country,” said USA coach Billy Donovan. “This was a team that was totally unselfish and played solely for the benefit of our country. The guys did everything they could to win the gold medal and I couldn’t have been more proud about the way they played.”
Serbia clinched silver for the second straight tournament, having lost to Lithuania in the 2011 Final in Latvia.
Jovan Novak had a game-high 21 points for Serbia, while Vasilje Micic finished with 13 points and handed out 10 assists.
“I think we could have played better. They are bigger than us but not better than us,” Micic said. “It’s a great achievement for Serbian basketball and this generation.”
Serbia jumped out to a 9-4 lead before Sulaimon nailed a triple to start a 9-0 USA run. Novak and Micic would knock down three-pointers to push Serbia back ahead 18-15.
Treys by Williams-Goss and Sulaimon would give the Americans back the lead 26-20 with the margin being 26-22 after one quarter. Another Novak long ball got Serbia within 28-27 before the Americans streaked out to a 36-29 cushion.
Serbia would not go away with Nikola Jokic hitting two inside baskets and a three-pointer to keep the Europeans within 40-38 at the break.
Serbia continued to dominate the tempo of the game, not allowing the Americans to get out and run. USA did pull out to a 46-41 lead, but Jokic and Mihajlo Andric hit triples to cut the gap to 48-47.
A 7-0 run gave Team USA their biggest lead of the game to that point at 55-47, which Serbia would trim back to 57-51 after three quarters. Novak started the fourth with a triple but the Americans went on a 13-1 surge for a 70-54 advantage with seven minutes left to decide the game.