Led by rising young star Malik Newman, USA survived their toughest challenge yet in the final against Australia to capture the 2014 FIBA U17 World Basketball Championship in Dubai on Saturday. The final was a repeat of USA's triumph over Australia in the tournament in 2012 and it marked the Americans third consecutive victory of the under-17 world title.
The final was a surprisingly closely-matched contest between two of the strongest young sides in the tournament. Newman scored 16 of his team-high 21 points to hand the Americans a seven-point lead in the first half. Newman, the USA captain, also grabbed 11 rebounds in the game. Australia made a comeback after halftime, led by Dejan Vasiljevic who had 29 points and six three-pointers. In the end, the USA survived a tight fourth quarter to secure a 99-91 win and the gold medal.
Australia's captain Tom Wilson poured in 23 points in a losing effort.
USA had used a balanced effort a day earlier to defeat Serbia 89-68 in the competition's semi-final, eclipsing a triple-pronged attack by Serbia's Nikola Rakicevic (19), Vojislav Stojanovic (18), and Stefan Peno (18). Australia made a huge comeback after being 22 down early in the game in their Semi-Final versus Spain to trump their opponents 80-74 in overtime of a memorable contest.
Serbia finished at third place by defeating Spain in a close tie, 62-59, on Saturday. Rakicevic had 17 for Serbia while Spain were led by Ramon Vila (20) and Santiago Yusta (17).
- 1. USA
- 2. Australia
- 3. Serbia
- 4. Spain
- 5. Puerto Rico
- Malik Newman (USA) - MVP
- Diamond Stone (USA)
- Isaac Humphries (Australia)
- Dejan Vasiljevic (Australia)
- Nikola Rakicevic (Serbia)