USA Takes Home Gold, Australia Places Fourth at U19 World Championship

July 12, 2009

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - The United States, featuring Washington State University rising-sophomore Klay Thompson, captured the gold medal with an 88-80 victory over Greece, Sunday at the U19 World Championship, while incoming Cougar Brock Motum and Australia placed fourth after falling to Croatia, 87-81, in the bronze medal game.

The USA finished the tournament 9-0, while Greece earned the silver medal with a 6-3 mark. The gold medal for the U.S. is its first in the U19 World Championship since 1991. Croatia (7-2) got revenge on Australia (7-2) after the Aussies defeated the Croatians, 79-74, July 8.

Thompson (Ladera Ranch, Calif.) got his fifth-straight start for the U.S. The 6-foot-6 guard finished with 10 points, four rebounds and three blocked shots in a team second-most 25 minutes of action. He finished 3-for-4 from the field, including 2-for-3 from beyond the 3-point arc. Thompson drained both of his free throw attempts. In the tournament, he averaged 7.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 19.3 minutes per game.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor led the U.S. with 18 points, six rebounds and five steals. Pittsburgh guard Ashton Gibbs and UTEP center Arnett Moultrie also scored in double figures with 13 and 10 points, respectively. Moultrie led the team with nine rebounds. Kostas Sloukas led Greece with 17 points, while Nikolaos Pappas and Leonidas Kaselakis added 16 and 15 points, respectively.

The United States went 6-for-6 from the free throw line in the final 40 seconds, two by Thompson, and held off the late charge by Greece, which made its final three shots, three of them from3-point range, for the 88-80 victory.

Thompson gave the U.S. the lead back early in the first quarter as it pulled to 6-5 at the 6:48 mark. Thompson had to leave the game 40 seconds later after picking up his second personal foul. The Americans and Greeks ended the first period tied at 19.

The Americans opened up the second quarter on a 16-1 run to go up 35-20 with five minutes to go in the second period and extended their lead to 16 to end the half up 46-30. The Greeks dominated the third quarter and cut the U.S. lead to single digits at eight, 50-42, with 5:38 to go in the period. The Greeks came as close as five at the 1:30 mark, but the USA extended the lead to nine, 60-51, to end the fourth quarter.

In Australia's loss to Croatia, the first quarter proved to be the difference, as the Croatians took an early eight-point, 28-20, lead at the end of the opening period. Motum (Brisbane, Australia) finished with 10 points on 4-for-6 shooting from the field while adding five rebounds in 21 minutes of action. The 6-9 forward finished the U19 World Championship as the tournament leader in field goal percentage after shooting at a 60.7 percent clip. He led his team and was tied for 20th in the championship with 13.6 points per game in 20.3 minutes of action an outing. Motum scored in double figures in eight of Australia's nine games.

Mitchell Young led Australia with 15 points, while Matthew Dellavedova added 14 points and Ryan Broekhoff chipped in 11 points and led the team with seven rebounds. Mario Delas, who had a tournament second-best 20 points per game over the championship, led Croatia with 28 points as he was 12-for-15 from the field. Toni Prostran added 21 points and seven boards and Tomislav Zubcic chipped in 16.

Australia trailed by six, 66-60, to start the fourth quarter and eventually trailed by nine at 69-60 just 27 seconds into the period. A bucket by Motum ended the Croatians' run as the Australians pulled back within three points at 69-66 with just over eight minutes left in the game.

Croatia went back up by as many as nine, 79-70, with 4:13 to go in the game. On the next possession, Motum's field goal started the Aussies' 9-0 run which tied the game at 79 with 1:22 to go. The Croatians took a quick lead but Australia tied it back up at 81 with a minute to go in the game. At the 43-second mark Croatia's Ivan Batur drained a 3-pointer for the 84-81 advantage.

Australia's Cadee's 3-point attempt to tie the game didn't fall and Croatia's Dino Butorac grabbed the rebound. He made both of his free throws to extend the lead to five with 30 seconds to go. The Aussies' next 3-point attempt was off the mark and Prostran made one of two from the free throw line to extend the lead to six. Cody Ellis' 3-pointer at the end was blocked, as Croatia held on for the lead.

Australia bounced back from its eight-point deficit at the end of the first quarter to pull within one point, 46-45, at halftime. Croatia came out strong in the third quarter, holding Australia to 15 points while extending its lead to six points at 66-60.

In other action, Argentina defeated Puerto Rico, 92-70, to capture fifth place, while Canada came out on top against France, 82-74, for seventh place.

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