Valdivia, Chile – The 2016 USA Men’s Basketball U18 National Team defeated Canada, 99-84, Saturday night en route to capturing a gold medal in the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championships.
Maryland was represented on the USA U18 National Team by Mark Turgeon, who served as assistant coach and guard Kevin Huerter, an incoming freshman who joins the Terps’ men’s basketball program this fall.
“This is something you always dream about,” said Turgeon from the victorious team locker room. “To be a part of USA Basketball and win a gold medal is very special. It was a great group of guys. They really worked hard over the past three weeks. I worked with two great coaches (Head Coach Shaka Smart and Assistant Coach Kevin Ollie). I learned a lot and really enjoyed it. This experience is something I will always remember.”
Team USA was led by guard Markelle Fultz, who poured in a game-high 23 points, including a pair of baskets late in the fourth quarter to lift Team USA to the gold medal victory.
Behind Fultz and forward Paul ‘P.J.’ Washington (19 points), Team USA concluded the final four minutes of the third quarter on a 15-8 run to build its largest lead of the game – 82-70.
Team Canada, however, raced out to 10-0 run to open up the fourth quarter and cut the deficit to 82-80 with 5:12 remaining. But Fultz answered and made a pair of driving layups while forward Michael Porter, Jr. (15 points) added a tomahawk jam and followed by connecting on a three-point field goal to give Team USA a nine-point lead – 91-82.
Huerter, a 6-7 guard from Clifton Park, N.Y., had a team-high 14 points to lead Team USA to a win over Chile 70-50 and advance to the semifinals. In five games, Huerter averaged 6.8 points and connected on 6-of-11 of his final three-points attempts.
“It was an extremely great feeling to win and be on the podium with my teammates as champions,” said Huerter. “It was a great experience. We played in front of great crowds and were able to overcome adversity against great teams.”
Team USA had a 55-38 overall rebounding edge against Canada and totaled a 58-26 advantage in points in the paint.
Team USA finished with a perfect 5-0 record in the championship.
Canada earned the Silver medal, while Brazil took home the Bronze.