MALDONADO, Uruguay (KSDK Sports) – We’re following the progress of Chaminade College Prep’s Jayson Tatum and his 2013 USA Basketball Men’s U16 National Teammates.
Running out to a 10-0 lead to start the game, the Men’s U16 National Team (1-0) left no doubt early that it was the dominate side and cruised to an eventual 130-31 victory over Mexico (0-1) to open play at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship in Maldonado, Uruguay. En route to the win, the U.S. set or tied three FIBA Americas U16 Championship and four USA U16 team records, including tying the highest point output in the two previouys U16 tournaments (2009 and 2011) held to date.
Seven USA players scored in double digits, while two posted double-doubles. Leading the way was Diamond Stone (Dominican H.S. / Milwaukee, Wis.) with 20 points and eight rebounds; Malik Newman (Callaway H.S. / Jackson, Miss.), who hit 4-of-7 from 3-point, finished with 19 points; Ivan Rabb (Bishop O’Dowd H.S. / Oakland, Calif.) scored 14 and snared 12 rebounds; Harry Giles (Wesleyan Christian Academy / Winston-Salem, N.C.) posted 14 points and 10 rebounds; Josh Jackson (Consortium College Prep / Southfield, Mich.) notched 12 points and grabbed seven boards; Jayson Tatum Chaminade College Prep / St. Louis, Mo.) scored 11 and Thomas Bryant (Bishop Kearney H.S. / Rochester, N.Y.) barely missed a double-double with 10 points and nine caroms.
The USA’s unselfish play was evidenced by 29 assists, six of which came from Devearl Ramsey (Sierra Canyon H.S. / Los Angeles, Calif.) and five from Seventh Woods (Hammond School / Columbia, S.C.).
Next up for the U.S. is a June 12 game (6 p.m. EDT) against South American rival Argentina (0-1), which downed Bahamas (1-0) 74-53 earlier today. The USA caps the preliminary round with a June 13 contest against Bahamas (2 p.m. EDT).
Teams will be seeded following preliminary round play and semifinals are scheduled for June 14, with the finals played on June 15.
All games are being streamed live online at FIBAAmericas.com.
“I was very pleased with the team’s effort,” said USA Basketball U16 head coach Don Showalter (Iowa City H.S., Iowa). “There are three things that we try to instill in our players. The first is unselfishness, the second is to play smart and the third is to play aggressively. I thought we accomplished those three things today.
“It was an overall team effort. I thought we had some really good leadership out of our guards. Malik (Newman), Seventh (Woods) and Devearl (Ramsey) gave us some good leadership. I thought we were looking for each other, being unselfish and when that happens, you get a lot of easy baskets.
Stone took a feed inside from Newman for the game’s first points 35 seconds into the contest. He then blocked a shot at the other end, came up with the board, ran the length of the court and got another feed inside from Newman 24 seconds later and the U.S. was off and running.
“I was pretty nervous going into the game,” said Stone. “But after I made my first shot I was just going with the flow.”
Mexico got its first point, a free throw at 6:34 to make it 10-1, but the U.S. reeled off nine unanswered points to pull ahead 19-1 at 4:49. Mexico’s lone field goal of the first quarter came at 2:26 and by the end of the first period, the USA was well in control 29-9.
The red, white and blue put on a show in the second quarter. It’s defense held Mexico to two field goals, while the offense upped the lead to 52 points, 68-16, at halftime.
While outscoring Mexico 31-8 in the third quarter and 31-7 in the fourth, the USA wowed the crowd with no-look passes, alley-oops and a variety of slam dunks en route to victory.
Shooting 57.1 percent (56-98 FGs) from the field and 33.3 percent (6-18 3pt FGs) from beyond the arc, the U.S. held Mexico to a frigid 12.3 percent (8-65 FGs) from the floor and just 20.0 percent (3-15 3pt FGs) from 3-point.
Further, the USA dominated in every category, winning the battle of the boards 73-32, including a 69-22 advantage in personal rebounds; forcing Mexico into 32 turnovers, resulting in 43 points, while Mexico earned just two points off of the USA’s 12 miscues.
A whopping 96 points were scored in the paint by the stars and stripes, while Mexico, which features a much smaller team, had a very tough time going inside and only managed eight from the paint.
“(Argentina is) a good team,” said Ramsey. “They move the ball around, they penetrate and kick. So, we have to focus on getting weak-side help, try to get up and down, and play good defense.”