Auckland, New Zealand – The United States U19 World Championship team defeated Greece 88-80 in the gold medal game on Sunday for their first world championship since 1991.
“We really set as a goal to win the gold medal,” said head coach Jamie Dixon. “We also made it very clear that we hadn’t won this since 1991, we talked about that and we used that as motivation throughout the month we’ve been together and I think it was really an important part of our work ethic and what we did. We did a great job of committing to one another for a month and I thought it was just great. We had great kids that worked all the way through and committed to getting the gold medal and gave up, sacrificed individual glory.”
Seth Curry, a sophomore at Duke, scored nine points on 3-of-5 from the field, 1-of-2 from the three-point line and 2-of-2 from the foul line. He also pulled down two rebounds in 17 minutes of action off the bench.
Neither team led by more than two points in the first quarter as the first 10 minutes played out even at 19-19. The USA went on a 16-1 run over the course of the second quarter’s first five minutes to open up a big lead. They went on to lead by 16 at halftime, 46-30. Greece outscored the Americans 21-14 in the third quarter but could not overcome the deficit as the USA claimed the gold medal.
Tyshawn Taylor (Kansas / Jersey City, N.J.) added six assists and five steals to his team-high 18 points, Ashton Gibbs (Pittsburgh / Scotch Plains, N.J.) recorded 13 points, Klay Thompson (Washington State / Ladera Ranch, Calif.) tossed in 10 points and swatted three shots, and Arnett Moultire (UTEP / Memphis, Tenn.) finished with 10 points while grabbing a team best nine rebounds.
The USA squad, led by University of Pittsburgh head coach Jamie Dixon, finished with a spotless 9-0 record and recorded a 22.2 margin of victory in the championship. The Americans, medal winners now in seven of the nine FIBA U19 World Championships, hadn’t won the tournament since finishing 8-0 in 1991, capturing seventh (4-4) in 1995, silver (7-1) in 1999, fifth in 2003 and silver in 2007 in Novi Sad, Serbia.