The group phase of the 2015 U19 World Championships has come to a close and the nations holding berths to the next round have been decided. There are few surprises heading into the Round of 16, but the exciting knockout stage will pit the best youngsters from around the world against each other. On Tuesday, USA, Canada, Turkey, and host nation Greece swept into the next round with unblemished records, while Croatia, Spain, Italy, and Serbia joined them in the next phase.
USA vs. Egypt, 92-50
Defending champs Team USA flew into the Round of 16 with a comfortable win over Egypt to top Group A with an unbeaten record. The five time title holders were in cruise control throughout and controlled the pace of play, holding a 47-23 lead through halftime and then never looking back. A strong U.S. attack saw five players register double digits, including Caleb Swanigen, Jayson Tatum, and Harry Giles with 13 points each, while Giles offered a double-double by adding 12 rebounds.
Croatia vs. Iran, 86-36
Croatia eased into the next phase with a crushing win over Iran, progressing with a 2-1 record while the Iranians slumped to 0-3. Iran actually stayed in the game through the first half and a low scoring encounter ended at 33-24 in favour of Croatia at the long break. In the third quarter the Europeans went hot with a 25-7 run that gave them completed control as Iran simply died at the bucket. Ivica Zubac nailed 20 points for the winning effort.
China vs. Turkey, 51-62
China entered this game on a high after passing Spain in Game 2, but Turkey provided a more stringent test and defeated the Chinese to top Group B with a 3-0 record. The Asian nation carried the momentum from that Spanish win to lead 17-11 at the first split, but the Turks soon arrived in the game and reeled in China through the second half. The Europeans then made it comfortable in the fourth act to punch its ticket to the next round.
Argentina vs. Spain, 51-75
Spain dealt with an Argentina team playing for pride in style to qualify in second place in Group B. The Spanish opened their account in blistering fashion, piling in 22 points and holding Argentina to an embarrassing 3 points in the opening frame. From there the Europeans could control the hardwood and pace to victory. Marc Garcia was a basket threat all night as he accumulated 22 points in the win, while Jacobo Diaz provided 12 points and 8 rebounds.
Tunisia vs. Australia, 64-93
Both teams were already out of the competition, but Australia went out on top with a big win over Tunisia, the Africans possibly with their minds elsewhere after the events this week. However, Australia cruised throughout against an opponent that has looked out of sorts throughout the competition. Jack White led the Aussies with 18 points and 6 rebounds, although Ahmed Dhif continued to put himself in the shop window with 20 points, 6 boards, and 4 assists for the Tunisians.
Canada vs. Italy, 78-54
Canada and Italy clashed to decide which nation would top Group C with an undefeated record, the accolade eventually falling to the Canadians. There was only five points splitting the teams through the midway point, Canada leading 35-30, but the North Americans soon took charge for good in the second half and put Azzurri to the sword. Justin Jackson was the one to watch as he paced Canada with 16 points and 7 caroms.
Greece vs. Serbia, 69-60
Host nation Greece defeated Serbia to claim top spot in Group D with unbeaten 3-0 record, while Serbia also progresses from 2-1 in second place. Serbia has finished runner-up in the last two U19 World Championships and will be a threat again, but here Greece looked good in picking up the win and with home advantage will also be looking to go deep into the competition.
Dominican Republic vs. South Korea, 102-89
It has been a tournament of what if’s for the Dominican Republic as the nation run Greece and Serbia close in their contests. The Dominicans finally fulfilled their potential by hailing points down upon South Korea, but ultimately both nations are now heading home from Heraklion. Yerri Flores and Andres Feliz both picked up 19 points in the win, while Jeon Hyunwoo also struck 19 points in the losing effort. Interestingly, it was the first victory for the Dominicans in the U19 Worlds’ since 1983.