Sunday, June 26, 2011

FIBA Americas Cup 2011 -- USA Beats Argentina Twice in 72 Hours, Takes Gold

USA 104 - Argentina 64
Team USA was consistent throughout the 2011 U16 FIBA Americas Cup Tournament. They took the gold medal in Cancun tonight, beating Argentina for the second time this week and dominating the field both offensively and defensively throughout the tournament. Team USA played the game at their pace, converted over 50% of field goals and dominated board play as they upped the victory margin versus Team Argentina to 40, 104-64. Aaron Gordon led all scorers with 24 points as the forward and teammate Jahlil Okafor each recorded their second double-double of the tournament. Gordon scored 24 points on 11-15 (0-0, 11-15) shooting from the floor to go with a not-so-good 2-7 night from the line. Gordon also led all rebounders with 15 (4-11-15) rebounds. Okafor scored 18 points to go with his 14 rebounds. Three other Team USA players, Justin Jackson (13), Theo Pinson (10) and Jabari Parker (14) scored 10 or more points. Team USA, no doubt sensing the gold, jumped on the Argentines right from the tip-off. Not allowing Team Argentina the time nor space to find their game, Team USA took a 13 lead, 30-17, out of the first period and extended it to 24, 54-30 by the half. After a more competitive third period (24-21 Team USA), the Americans turned on the afterburners and stretched the lead out to it's final spot at 40, 104-64 to end the game. Crunching the game boxscore to develop some possession-based stats for the game...


Any solace for Team Argentina can be derived from the fact they are the only team that held the USA to under 90 possessions in this tournament. They could not stop Team USA from posting an extremely efficient offensive (1.20 ppp) and defensive (0.74 ppp) point-per-possession rates. A gold medal game with an opponent who had seen the USA once before most likely explains why Coach Don Showalter felt the need to rely on a nine man rotation with four players drawing > 50% of the time at their position. If the playing time was not evenly distributed, shot percentages and possession rates among five members of the rotation suggest they were leading contributors on offense. Like the Costa Rico game, five players took 20% or more of the available shots when they were on the court, while seven were credited with 20% or more of the possessions while they were playing.

Aaron Gordon had a red-letter night on the boards, while Jabari Parker also grabbed more than his share of offensive boards.

Final Standings
After pool play the field was reseeded for the last two rounds. The last two teams in each Group was assigned to the classification pool where they played off for places #5-#8. The first two teams in each Group qualified for the medal playoffs. The final standings based on the finals played Saturday...

Medal Round Classification Round
1USA (gold)505Brazil32
2Argentina (silver)326Chile23
3Canada (bronze)327Mexico14
4Puerto Rico328Costa Rico05

Team USA, Team Argentina and Team Canada earned berths in the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championships.

Winners... -- The top three finishers, USA, Argentina and Canada. They qualify the FIBA U18 World Championships. Team Canada -- The Neighbors to the North had the misfortune of drawing the USA and Puerto Rico for three of the five games they played at the Americas Cup this week. They managed to win one of the three (that is all they really needed to get to the World Championship next year). Team Brazil -- Though they were relegated to the Classification Bracket at the end of Pool Play, the Brazilians nevertheless managed a winning record (3-2) and a fifth place finish.

...& Losers -- Team Puerto Rico -- the Puerto Ricans swept the Centrobasket Tournament field 5-0 to qualify for the American Cup. Through Thursday it looked like the Puerto Ricans were ready for Team USA, as they also swept through their Group A slate almost as easily as they did the Centrobasket field week before. They dug a 24 point hole in their semi-final game with Argentina, but despite a furious fourth period rally, fell short and were relegated to the bronze medal game, a rematch with Team Canada, a team they beat by four on Wednesday. The Canadians took a leaf from Team Argentina's book and jumped all over the Puerto Ricans right from the start, building a 19 point lead in the first period. Team Argentina then extended their lead by three more before the half (40-18). There was no furious fourth period rally to make the final score a bit more respectable Saturday night however, as Team Puerto Rico could only cut the final deficit back to 21, 86-65. To have lost their ticket to the U18 World Championship after going on an 8-0 run has to be devastating to the young team. Team Costa Rico -- The Costa Ricans backed into the Americas Cup field when Belize squandered their last game in the Centrobasket Tournament the week before the Americas Cup. The Costa Ricans were simply not ready to compete effectively at this level however, as suggested by the -0.736 efficiency difference logged through the five games of this tournament.


Maxva said...

Check FIBA Americas Championship 2011 Details and also check who are the squads here Fiba Americas Championship Players List

greyCat said...

Maxva is referring to the FIBA American Championship, scheduled to begin tomorrow in Mar del Plata, Argentina. There are 10 teams in the tournament field, the top two will qualify for the 2012 Olympic Basketball Tournament. The USA, having already qualified for the Olympics, withdrew from the field, their spot then awarded to Paraguay.