The USA Basketball U17 team advanced to its fourth consecutive gold medal game in the FIBA U17 World Championships with a 98-70 semifinal victory against Lithuania in the semifinals in Zaragoza, Spain.
Team USA has won gold in all three previous incarnations of the event (2010, 2012 and 2014) and is now 29-0 all-time in U17 play. No. 30 could be in the final against Turkey on Sunday (3 p.m. ET, ESPNU/ESPNEWS). The U.S. team beat Turkey 85-66 in a preliminary round game on June 24.
Against Lithuania, a 16-2 run in the third quarter proved to be the difference after Team USA had taken a 10-point halftime edge.
Markus Howard (Findlay Prep, Nev./Chandler, Ariz.) scored 16 points off the bench to lead the Americans. Collin Sexton (Pebblebrook/Mableton, Ga.) and Gary Trent Jr. (Apple Valley/Burnsville, Minn.) each had 15 points, Carte’Are Gordon (Webster Groves/St. Louis) scored 13 points, and Kevin Knox II (Tampa Catholic/Riverview, Fla.) had 10.
Troy Brown (Centennial/Las Vegas) and Gordon each had nine rebounds as Team USA has continued to pummel the opposition on the glass throughout the event.
“We adjusted really, really well as the game went on,” coach Don Showalter said. “Our kids communicated with each other very well. We cut all of their screening action down, so they weren’t able to get very good shots. As the game went on we got a lot better.
“Our press has really bothered people. We put the press on, we have length and quickness that’s going to bother some people, so we really just wore them down. We can go 12 deep and our bench just wore them down.”
Gordon has shot a whopping 75.6 percent from the field in the first game games at 34-for-45.
“We knew that we had to come out in the second half with a lot of energy and play the way that we know how to play,” Gordon said. “And luckily we did that and we got the win. (At halftime coach) told us that we have to be pit bulls, not poodles.”