U17 Men take home silver at World Champs + VIDEO

U17 Men take home silver at World Champs + VIDEO

The Australian Under 17 Men’s Basketball team has won silver at the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship in Kaunas, Lithuania, falling to the USA in the gold medal game this morning, the Americans running away in the end with a 95-62 win.

For the Aussies, Dante Exum capped off a stellar tournament, finishing with 21 points and was subsequently named in the All Tournament team at the official medal ceremony. Nicholas Duncan was the next best scorer for Australia with 10 points.

The Americans had four double-digit scorers, led by guard Conner Frankamp who made 4 of 6 attempts from down town in an impressive display in the second half. Tournament MVP Jahlil Okafor finished with 17 points.

The Aussies started well, with centre Nicholas Duncan getting the scoring underway with a big three. The Americans responded quickly however through Stephen Domingo, as the two sides traded blows for much of the first term, the scores tied at 14-14 with 3:16 to play.

USA showed their class late in their quarter however, as well as their ability to pile on the points quickly, scoring the last eight of the quarter to take a 22-14 lead.

The USA quickly extended the lead out to 12 early in the second term but the Aussies continued to fight, pegging back the lead to six with just over four minutes to play in the half, before the USA again mounted another run to go into the change rooms leading by 14 points, 38-24.

The Aussies would manage to peg the lead back to within 10 only one more time in the contest as the Americans dominated in the second half, putting on an impressive shooting display, in particular by Conner Frankamp, to run away with the big 33 point win.

The Americans dominated the Aussies on the glass, winning the count 43-23, including 12 offensive rebounds, many of those coming in the second half, giving the US bigs second and third chances at buckets.

The Australians struggled from the field in the first half, and although they improved after half time, so did their opponent. The Aussies shot 32 per cent from the field at the game’s conclusion, and only 21 per cent from the three-point line. With the Americans playing a match-up zone defense, the Aussies ended up shooting more than two-thirds of their field goal attempts from three-point territory, making only nine of 42 attempts. In the context of this game, that was never going to be enough.

Although a disappointing finish in the gold medal game, a silver medal remains a tremendous result for a young Australian team filled with exceptional talent, demonstrating the exciting future that the Australian men’s basketball program has to look forward to.

Australia 62 (Exum 21, Duncan 10) defeated by USA 95 (Frankamp 22, Okafor 17)

Rebounders: AUS (Exum 6, Simmons 4); USA (Winslow 11, Okafor 8)

USA  22  16  26  31
AUS  14  10  19  19