Harry Giles III notched his fifth-consecutive double-double (13 points and 16 rebounds) and Villanova-bound point guard Jalen Brunson posted 14 points, seven assists, five rebounds and no turnovers to lead Team USA past Croatia, 79-71, in overtime of the FIBA U19 World Championship Sunday in Greece.
It was Team USA’s second consecutive FIBA U19 gold medal.
Croatia’s Luka Bozic missed the go-ahead free throw with 4.5 seconds left in regulation and Team USA clamped down defensively in overtime, outscoring Croatia 12-4, to secure the win.
Brunson was named tournament MVP, averaging 14 points, 3.3 rebounds and 5.6 assists over the seven games. All 14 of his points came in the second half and overtime.
“I’m speechless,” Brunson said. “I’ve got to give credit to my teammates. They found me the right positions to just make plays. I just can’t thank everybody enough. We worked so hard for this. …
“(Winning gold) feels great, especially when you’re wearing USA across your chest. It’s a very special feeling, and I’m just really excited and I’m really confident right now.”
Giles was named to the all-tournament team after averaging 14.0 points and 10.6 rebounds a game. Giles had four points Sunday in the OT.
“We just wanted to win the game,” Giles said of the OT. “So, scoring first; the first block; the first rebound, we just needed something to get a lead in the game and get you some motivation.”
Giles, who hails from Wesleyan Christian Academy (High Point, N.C.) and is ranked No. 1 overall in the ESPN 100, was one of four high school players on the squad. He joined Chaminade College Prep’s (St. Louis) Jayson Tatum (13 points, six rebounds and three assists), Prime U’s (Dallas) Terrance Ferguson (eight points,) and Prolific Prep’s (Napa, Calif.) Josh Jackson (10 points and eight rebounds) all chipped in on the win.
“This is my third (gold medal with USA Basketball), but this was definitely the hardest one to win,” Jackson said. “We faced some of our toughest opponents in this one, and we were pretty close to losing that game. I’m just glad we pulled it out.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY