HAMBURG, Germany -- When playing the athletic and deeply talented USA U17 Men's World Championship Team, it's pick your poison. You can focus on shutting down the red, white and blue's inside game and hope for an off shooting night. Or you can extend out on the USA shooters and hope your inside men can contain the USA bigs. Australia elected to try and stop the U.S. inside game and guard Brad Beal made them pay in a big way, scoring a game-high 25 points on a sizzling 7-of-9 shooting performance from behind the three-point arc and the USA improved to 6-0 with a dominating 105-70 victory over Australia (3-3) Friday night.
"When we found out we would be playing the USA it was a matter of trying to identify an area of the game where the USA wouldn't play so well," explained Australia head coach Guy Malloy. "We decided that we would try to keep them away from the basket and hope their 3-point play wouldn't go so good. But their 3-point play turned out to be outstanding."
The win advanced the USA U17 squad into Saturday's U17 World Championship medal round semifinal against 4-2 Canada, who defeated China 102-96 earlier in the afternoon to move on. Winners of the two semifinal games advance to play in Sunday's gold medal game, with the semifinals losers meeting in the bronze medal game.
"Canada is a very good team," said USA head coach Don Showalter about the USA's semifinal opponent. "They are probably as athletic as any team we'll play here. We kind of know them from last year and it's going to be a very interesting game. I think they're going to give us some problems just from the standpoint of their athleticism, because we really haven't played against that yet.
"The keys are going to be if we can control the boards and our guard play. They have an outstanding point guard as obviously we do, but between our guards and their guards I think whoever controls the game will come out the winner."
The U.S. quickly established control in its game versus Australia. Tied 8-8, the USA's James McAdoo tallied five points and Chasson Randle and Adonis Thomas each connected on a three as the Americans posted a 14-0 run over just 2:25 to take charge 22-8 with 3:19 yet to go in the opening quarter.
Carrying a comfortable 28-16 lead into the second period, the Americans expanded their advantage to 36-21. But Australia, in a last gasp, reeled off eight straight points to tighten the contest to 36-28 with 4:09 left before intermission.
Beal hit his first 3-pointer with 3:50 left to stop the Aussie run, and when the halftime buzzer sounded he had added two more threes and another basket to account for 11 points and help stretch the U.S. lead to 52-34.