KAUNAS (2012 FIBA U17 World Championship) – Reigning champions United States look to repeat their undefeated run to the title as they take on Australia in the Gold Medal Game at the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship.
The Americans have yet to lose in 15 games played at the U17 Worlds in 2010 and this summer. They would hate to suffer their first defeat in a re-match of their opening win in Kaunas against Australia.
In the Group A opener, Team USA used a 19-1 third quarter spurt to blow the game open, winning 89-67.
The USA reached the Final by beating Spain while Australia knocked off Croatia – handing the European champions their first loss of the tournament, a feat they would like to repeat with the Americans.
The Australians will have to avoid allowing the Americans go on a run, meaning the Oceania powers will have to do a good job handling the ball and make the shots they get.
The Americans should have the services of star forward Jabari Parker, who was held out of the Semi-Finals for precautionary reasons.
Key Match-Up: Australia point guard Mirko Djeric v USA pressure defense – If Australia’s Semi-Finals hero Djeric (21 points on 7 three-pointers) can withstand the USA press and get his offense set up, the Australians have a much better chance.
What They Say
USA coach Don Showalter: “It’s going to be a tremendous Gold Medal Game. Anybody who wants to watch a great game of basketball should be here to watch it. It’s going to be one of those games going in that everybody is going to have to be well prepared and it’s going to be a game of runs. If you can get five or six baskets in a run that might determine the game.
Australia coach Guy Molloy: “We’re playing a team with an awesome physical presence and that can wear you down quickly and I think we'll rotate bodies quite well to play the game that we want. (In the early match-up) we were competitive until a spurt. And we couldn’t stop their run. We have to avoid that this time. They deserve to be favorites but we’ll give them all we have.”
Croatia take on Spain in the Bronze Medal Game.