Guards' Golden Touch Lead USA Young Men To 2001 World Championship

Aug. 13, 2001

SAITAMA, Japan (August 12, 2001) - USA guards Troy Bell (Boston College /Minneapolis, Minn.) and Chris Duhon (Duke / Slidell, La.) combined to make 11 3-point shots and scored 43 points as the USA rallied in the second half to earn an 89-80 victory over Croatia (4-4) to claim the gold medal at the 2001 World Championship For Young Men Sunday in Saitama, Japan.

The gold medal finish was the USA's second in the FIBA event's three time history. The USA won gold at the inaugural World Championship For Young Men in 1993 and finished fifth in 1997.

Bell made a USA single game record six 3-pointers on nine attempts and finished with a team best 24 points, while Duhon made five-of-12 3-pointers (the 12 attempts also set a USA game mark), and was credited with 19 points and a USA game record 14 assists.

UCLA junior Jason Kapono played five minutes for the USA Team in the championship contest. During the eight-game tournament, Kapono averaged 7.0 points and 2.1 rebounds. He shot 40.0 from the field, including 10-26 (38.5) from three-point range, 1.000 (10-10) from the foul line and contributed nine assists and one blocked shot and steal.

After the victory over Croatia, Kapono was asked, 'does winning the gold make all the work worth it?'

'Definitely,' Kapono said. 'It was a long trip and it was very tiring, but to play here and take home the gold medal means a lot. Different players seemed to contribute each night making this a true team effort. No one got mad or jealous or worried about playing time, guys just kind of played as one throughout.'

USA head coach Jim Boeheim (Syracuse) agreed with Kapono. 'We've had guys step up every game,' he said. 'That's been the nicest thing about this team. We played eight or nine guys, 12 guys in most games, and everybody has contributed. It's been the best team effort I've seen in my six or seven years working with USA Basketball in terms of a team playing together, hanging together.'The United States trailed for most of the first quarter as cold shootingfor the first time in the tournament plagued the U.S. The game was tied22-22 with 1:28 to play in the opening period and Croatia closed thequarter with the final four points to take a 26-22 lead.

Croatia opened a 45-33 lead with 2:32 remaining before half and was on the verge of blowing the game wide open. However, the U.S. guards stepped up and Duhon sank a three, then Bell made two more, and the U.S. had closed the gap to 47-42 at halftime. In the first two quarters, the U.S. shot just 37.9 percent (11-29 FGs), while Croatia was hitting 56.3 percent(18-32 FGs) from the floor, including five-of-10 from 3-point.

Opening the third quarter with the same intensity they closed the second period with, the USA behind five points from Bell and four more from Nick Collison (Kansas / Iowa Falls, Iowa) went on a 9-0 run to regain the lead 51-47 with 6:43 to play in the third. With its defense limiting Croatia to 20.0 percent (4-20 FGs) shooting in the period while the USA scorched the nets making 10-of-13 attempts (76.9 percent), when Bell drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer from just inside half court, the USA had taken control 69-59.

Opening a 12-point advantage early in the fourth quarter following a pair of baskets by Caron Butler (Connecticut / Racine, Wis.), Croatia rallied to score nine consecutive points to pull within three, 73-70 with 5:50 to play.

With the USA lead down to a point, 80-79, Duhon took charge. Connecting on a three with 2:05 to play that pushed the USA ahead 84-80, Duhon got the rebound on the other end and made two free throws to give the USA an 85-79 lead with 1:29 to play. On the next possession he was fouled and again converted on both free throws to up the lead to 89-80 and seal the victory.

In the bronze medal game, Argentina (5-3) battled to hold off Dominican Republic (4-4) 87-82 to take home a third place finish and the bronze medal. In Sunday's other finals play, Spain (6-2) won its sixth game after handing Slovenia (4-4) a 79-65 setback to finish fifth, while Israel(5-3) ended a three game losing streak and defeated Australia (4-4) 80-77to finish seventh.

Held every four years and originally designed for men 22-years-old oryounger, FIBA lowered the age eligibility to 21-years-old or younger inDec. 1998 and changed the competition name to the World Championship For Young Men. The U.S. captured gold in the inaugural competition which was held in 1993 in Spain and known as the FIBA 22 And Under WorldChampionship, and in 1997 in Melbourne, Australia, finished fifth with a6-2 record.

2001 FIBA World Championship For Young Men Schedule/Results

Preliminary Round Final Standings
Group A W L Group B W L
1-Spain 4 1 1-USA 5 0
2-Australia 4 1 2-Israel 4 1
3-Dominican Rep. 3 2 3-Argentina 3 2
4-Slovenia 3 2 4-Croatia 2 3
5-Egypt 1 4 5-Japan 1 4
6-Qatar 0 5 6-South Korea 0 5

Preliminary Round
Friday, August 3
Group A Group BSpain 97, Dom. Rep. 64 Israel 95, South Korea 69Slovenia 79, Qatar 49 Argentina 93, Japan 56Australia 87, Egypt 67 USA 88, Croatia 69

Saturday, August 4
Group A Group BSlovenia 76, Egypt 62 Argentina 92, Croatia 77Spain 75, Australia 71 Israel 102, Japan 80Dom. Rep. 101, Qatar 79 USA 128, South Korea 73

Sunday, August 5
Group A Group BEgypt 79, Qatar 64 Israel 82, Croatia 70Slovenia 74, Spain 64 Jap. 111, S. Korea 108 (2 OT)Australia 100, Dom. Rep. 84 USA 84, Argentina 71

Tuesday, August 7
Group A Group BDom. Rep. 107, Egypt 76 Croatia 137, South Korea 72Spain 75, Qatar 69 USA 123, Japan 87Australia 95, Slovenia 68 Israel 80, Argentina 63

Wednesday, August 8
Group A Group BSpain 116, Egypt 45 Argentina 98, S. Korea 74Dom. Rep. 84, Slovenia 81 Croatia 105, Japan 77Australia 90, Qatar 68 USA 98, Israel 74

(The top four finishing teams from each Preliminary Round Group advanced to the medal quarterfinals,while the fifth and sixth placed teams competed in the classification quarterfinals)

Friday, August 10
Dominican Republic 91, Israel 72Croatia 83, Spain 67Argentina 75, Australia 64USA 110, Slovenia 83

Egypt 101, South Korea 76Qatar 96, Japan 80

Saturday, August 11Spain 76, Israel 68Slovenia 99, Australia 89Croatia 89, Dominican Republic 64USA 95, Argentina 90

Saturday, August 1111th/12th Place: Egypt 91, Qatar 769th/10th Place: Japan 82, South Korea 81Sunday, August 127th/8th Place: Israel 80, Australia 775th/6th Place: Spain 79, Slovenia 65Bronze Medal Game: Argentina 87, Dominican Republic 82Gold Medal Game: USA 89, Croatia 80

Final Order Of Finish 1. USA (8-0) 2. Croatia (4-4) 3. Argentina (5-3) 4. Dominican Republic (4-4) 5. Spain (6-2) 6. Slovenia (4-4) 7. Israel (5-3) 8. Australia (4-4) 9. Egypt (3-4)10. Qatar (1-6)11. Japan (2-5)12. South Korea (0-7)

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