The USA set out to end a nearly two-decade draught in the FIBA U19 World Championship when it headed to Auckland, New Zealand, for this year's 16-team international tournament. Mission accomplished.
With Tyshawn Taylor (Kansas) scoring 18 points and six other players adding at least eight points, the USA held off Greece, 88-80, to capture the gold medal. It was the first title for the USA at the FIBA U19 World Championship since 1991.
The USA pulled away from a 19-19 tie at the end of the first quarter with a 16-1 run to start the second period. Ashton Gibbs (Pittsburgh), who started the run with a basket off an assist from Butler's Gordon Hayward, scored six points in the five-minute stretch, while Terrico White (Mississippi) added five.
After the victory, Hayward commented in a USA Basketball release that the team was committed to ending the long USA title draught.
"We came in with that goal and we said "gold medal" during our huddles from day one. That was our focus the whole time and we got it done."
"It's just a great feeling, a great accomplishment to represent your country and finish first and get the job done. Bonding with these (players) for however long we did is great and all our hard work paid off," added Hayward.
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