Josh Hairston had 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting and added four rebounds and a steal.
Photo Courtesy: Ross Davis
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SAN ANTONIO, Texas – In a record-setting night, the USA U18 National Team (4-0) earned a berth in the gold medal game with a 122-89 semifinal victory over Canada (2-2) Tuesday night at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Men at Bill Greehey Arena in San Antonio, Texas.
The Duke tandem of Kyrie Irving and Josh Hairston combined for 22 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and three steals. Irving tallied 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting and added seven assists and two steals in 18 minutes of action. Hairston totaled 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting and added four rebounds and a steal.
"That's the goal and that's what we came here for," said USA and University of Oklahoma head coach Jeff Capel. "Not trying to sound conceited, but we expected to be in this position and this is what we've worked for. We've been together for three weeks and we've worked for this moment. Hopefully, we can come out and seize the opportunity tomorrow."
Team USA set a new single-game record at this event with 14 made 3-point field goals, breaking the previous record that was set in 2002, and tied in 2008 and again in the USA's first contest this year.
"I thought we played well," added Capel. "We did a good job defensively early. I thought our guys respected Canada and we knew they were a very good team. We came out and jumped on them early. I thought we did it with our defense."
The U.S. squad will meet also undefeated Brazil (4-0) for the gold medal at 8:00 p.m. Wednesday. Brazil upended defending gold medalist Argentina (2-2) 70-56 in the other semifinal game. Argentina and Canada will play for the bronze medal at 5:00 p.m. All four teams earlier qualified for the 2011 U19 World Championships in Latvia.
With the win, the U.S. upped its overall record to 37-2 at this event, which is a qualifying tournament for the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship, and has won four gold medals (1990, 1994, 1998, 2006), one silver medal (2008) and one bronze medal (2002) at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship. QUOTES Josh Hairston On advancing to the gold medal game: "I feel very good. We’ve been together for three weeks doing two-a-day work outs. Most of us aren’t used to two-a-days. That’s paying off. We’re winning decisively and that’s due the camaraderie we’ve developed. I’ve never been part of a team like this, and I just want a gold medal."
Kyrie Irving What do you expect from Brazil tomorrow night? "I’m expecting a lot of physicality. They’re a really physical team. I expect to get screened. I’m expecting a great game."