Shaka Smart leads USA to 5-0 mark; FIBA Americas U18 Gold Medal

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Shaka Smart leads USA to 5-0 mark; FIBA Americas U18 Gold Medal

VALDIVIA, Chile — University of Texas freshman Jarrett Allen posted 10 points and eight rebounds to lead Team USA (5-0) to a 99-84 victory against Canada (4-1) in the Gold Medal game of the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship on Saturday evening. With the victory, the Americans captured their eighth gold medal all-time in the tourney, having previously won the championship in 1990, 1994, 1998, 2006, 2010, 2012 and 2014.

Allen, who started his fifth consecutive game for Team USA, converted 3-of-5 field goals and 4-of-6 free throws and added two assists, two steals and one block in a team-high 33 minutes. Fellow UT freshman James Banks did not see action during Saturday's win. Texas coach Shaka Smart served as head coach for the USA team.

"Canada played a really good game," Smart said. "They shot the ball well from outside, particularly Walker. I think our guys did a good job of keeping their composure. There were a couple times when we got up, and we let down a little bit. But then Canada made runs, our guys kept composure and made good plays."

"It was a great experience," Smart continued. "We had a terrific group of guys to be around. They were a lot of fun. It's hard because you can only put five guys on the floor at one time, and we had 12 really talented guys. The guys' attitudes were great on the whole trip. They made it about winning the gold medal, and that is what we were able to do."

During the five-game tournament, Allen led Team USA and ranked fourth in the tournament in rebounding (9.0 rpg) and topped the squad in minutes (23.8 mpg). He ranked third on the team in scoring (10.6 ppg) and tied for third in blocked shots (5) while converting 21-of-45 (.467) field goals.

Banks, who played in the first four games of the tourney, led Team USA in blocked shots (7) and ranked sixth on the squad in rebounding (4.5 rpg) despite playing just 9.8 minutes per contest. He added 2.3 points per game, and nine of his 18 total rebounds came on the offensive glass.

Smart, who had served as an assistant coach for Team USA on two previous occasions, posted a 5-0 mark with the Under-18 National Team. The Americans recorded a +30.4 average margin of victory (93.4-63.0) and led the tournament in scoring (93.4 ppg), field goal percentage (.461), assists (25.0 apg), steals (13.4 spg) and blocks (6.8 bpg).

"Every time you compete in these types of tournaments, you feel a level of pressure when you represent the USA and being committed to win a gold medal," Smart said. "I joked with people before we came down here that if we didn't win the gold medal, they wouldn't let us back in the country, so I'm proud we got it done."

2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship Results (Team USA schedule only)

Saturday, July 23 (Gold Medal game)

USA 99, Canada 84

Friday, July 22 (Semifinals)

USA 88, Brazil 48

Thursday, July 21

USA 70, Chile 50

Wednesday, July 20

USA 107, U.S. Virgin Islands 63

Tuesday, July 19

USA 103, Puerto Rico 70

James Schleicher

James Schleicher is the publisher of Horns Illustrated magazine. He's also a fifth generation Texan and lifelong Austinite. Follow @HornsIllus twitter to keep up with all things Horns Illustrated.

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