Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Villanova duo of Cam Whitmore, Mark Armstrong leads USA U18s into semifinals
The 2022 USA Basketball Men’s U18 National Team advanced to the FIBA U18 Americas Championship semifinal with a 92-64 win over host country Mexico at Auditorio Zonkey in Tijuana, Mexico, Friday night.
Villanova-bound wing Cam Whitmore paced the USA with 27 points on 58% (10-17 FG) from the field and 57% (4-7 3FG) from 3. Whitmore’s 27 points leave him tied for sixth all-time in USA history for points scored in a game in the U18 competition. His name sits next to Michael Wright, who accomplished the feat in 1998, and Calbert Cheaney, who did so in 1990.
“Cam is a gamer,” USA head coach Tad Boyle said. “He loves to compete and he made winning plays tonight.”
The USA also received a lift from Jared McCain (Duke) and Mark Armstrong (Villanova). McCain scored 17 points and made three 3-point shots, while Armstrong pitched in with 16 points on 75% (6-8 FG) from the field. Leading in the assist department was Kanaan Carlyle with six, while Anthony Black controlled the glass with 11 rebounds.
“I was pleased with all the individual efforts,” Boyle said. “It’s going to be different guys’ night on different nights. We have to understand that and relish in each other’s successes, put our egos aside and recognize that winning is the ultimate goal. Tonight, we did that.”
Early in the first quarter, Mexico jumped out to an 8-0 lead over the USA. Playing with tempo and what Boyle described as “their style of basketball,” Mexico continued its hot start, finishing the frame leading 18-10.
In the second quarter, the USA found its shooting touch, going on a 24-2 run with most of the offensive production coming from behind the 3-point line. At the half, the USA turned its eight-point deficit into a nine-point lead (43-34).
Through the second half, though Mexico would draw the game within four points in the third quarter, 54-50, the USA never gave up its halftime lead en route to victory.
For the game, the USA made 16 3-point shots (16-39 3FG, .410%), which marks a team-high for the competition.
“The 3-point line was our friend tonight,” Boyle said. “We can be a good 3-point shooting team as long as we take good ones. When we take quick 3s, it’s not a recipe for success, but when we work the ball inside and then kick it back out, it is.”
Following Friday’s matchup, the USA is primed to take on Argentina in the semifinals, which will tip off Saturday at 8 p.m. Eastern live on www.youtube.com/FIBA.
(Release via USA Basketball)
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.