The Australians provided the biggest surprise of the FIBA Men U19 World Championships when they ousted Spain, the top seed in Group E coming out of the preliminary rounds, with an 87:76 win. The Aussies will now face Serbia in the semi-finals as the Serbs downed Croatia 73:66. In the other side of the bracket Lithuania grabbed the first semi-final spot with an early 89:58 win over China. Their opponent in the semis will be the US after they pounded Canada 109:67 to finalize the semi-final matches.
Australia’s Dante Exum dropped 33 points, 30 of which he picked up in the second half, to lead the upset over one of the tournament’s favorite clubs, Spain. Australia took the first frame 20:19 and then went on a 19:4 run in the second on their way to a 45:31 advantage at the mid-game break. By the end of the third the margin was extended to 66:48. Spain knocked down the first six of the final frame and then went on runs of 9:0 and 7:0 to cut the margin, but Australia was able to keep the gap and advanced to the semi-finals with a huge 87:76 victory.
Serbia moved on to the next round with a 73:66 win over Croatia. Mihajlo Andric tallied 20, hitting three from behind the arc, to led the Serbian club to a win over one of the hot clubs in the U19s. Croatia was led by the leading player in the tournament, Dario Saric. In the quarters Saric upped his game further yet and contributed 30 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and 1 block. Unfortunately, his big game had little support and the Croatians dropped to the consolation round while Serbia prepares for their semi-final match-up with Australia.
Lithuania cruised to a spot in the semis with a 31-point win over China, led by a balanced scoring attack that saw four players score in double figures and 11 players score at least four points.
China got a big performance from Shuai Yuan, dropping 11 points in the first half to help keep his club within a deuce, 32:30, deep in the second frame. Unfortunately, that is when the Lithuanians started a 21:2 run that saw their lead blow up to 55:32 in the third. From their China had no hope of getting back into the game and the Europeans sent the Asians into the consolation bracket where they will face Canada.
The final quarter-final contest pitted the two North American clubs in the FIBA Men U19 World Championships, the USA and Canada. The Canadians laced up their court shoes and hit the hardwood without their second-leading scorer, 6’9″ Trey Lyles, and the smaller line-up proved to be not much of a match for the dominating club from the US.
The US got out and early lead in the first quarter, only to have Canada pull back to within five, 27:22. By the end of the first 10 the Canadiens were down 30:22. The US took control in the second and pushed their advantage to 15 at the break, 53:38.
A 15:2 run by the Americans as the second half tipped off put the game out of reach and set up semi-final match-up with Lithuania after a 109:67 victory.