USA vs. Argentina U16 Basketball: Score, Highlights and Recap

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USA vs. Argentina U16 Basketball: Score, Highlights and Recap
Via USA Basketball Instagram

Team USA may not have threatened to pummel Argentina by triple-digits in their Group A matchup, but their quick-strike destruction of the competition at the 2013 FIBA Americas U16 Championship continued on Wednesday.

Just a day after pulverizing Mexico by 99 points in their opening matchup, Team USA continued their dominance versus Argentina, pulling away late for a 96-72 victory. Though often ripe with sloppy play—far less fluid than a day prior against the overmatched Mexican team—the United States was able to take down its international rival with relative ease.

Malik Newman again played a pivotal role in the United States' ascent, scoring a game-high 21 points on 7-of-17 shooting. The burgeoning guard represented a huge spacing boon for the young United States squad, one that often struggles to find its range from distance. Newman hit two shots from distance versus Argentina, showing a polish in his stroke that's rare for his age.

That being said, Newman can create off the bounce as well. He showed off his prodigious skills midway through the third quarter, taking his defender to the basket for a score and the foul—one of many Team USA buckets that involved the pure excellence of individual talent. 

For the tournament, Newman is now averaging 20 points a night after putting up 19 in the rout of Mexico. Though already recognized as one of the best young talents in the United States youth basketball program, Newman has been the talk of Team USA's trip to Uruguay thus far. 

The talk of Team USA's team prior to the U16 Championships, captain Seventh Woods, had quite the fine bounce-back game after a disappointing outing against Mexico. Woods, an electric point guard who has become something of a YouTube sensation due to his leaping ability, had nine points on 3-of-5 shooting while only playing 17 minutes.

Spreading the wealth has become something of a norm for coach Don Showalter. All 12 Team USA players scored against Mexico and got extensive playing time, and he went forth with a similar strategy on Wednesday. Even as Argentina kept the game relatively close, Showalter made sure to divvy up the minutes in an equitable fashion. Only Newman and big man Diamond Stone, who had 11 points, played 20 minutes.

While ultimately less of a blowout than their matchup against Mexico, the United States worked early to establish their dominance against Argentina. The red, white and blue stormed out to a quick 14-0 run, scoring easy baskets in the open court while working for stifling stops defensively. As noted by Max Prep's Jason Hickman, the United States got off to quite the nice start during their first 44 minutes of this tournament:

The shutout talk subsided, though, and the remainder of the first half was filled with good, yet not pulverizing basketball from the United States. Argentina played the United States to only an eight-point loss (41-33) after that initial run, finding their rhythm on both ends of the floor. 

The Argentinians would not completely succumb to the pressure of Team USA's talents to start the second half, either. Despite walking into halftime down more than three touchdowns, Argentina fought to stay in the game.  Playing a younger version of their senior team's style, the Argentinians moved the ball beautifully and forced some questionable turnovers from the Americans. 

The story of the evening for Argentina was the brilliance of Guillermo Aliende. The bench spark plug was undoubtedly the Argentinians' best player throughout, scoring a team-high 18 points and dishing out seven assists. Aliende was masterful in the open court, taking advantage of Team USA's gambling ways to find passing lanes and advantageous spots to attack—both for himself and teammates.

Lautaro Riego also chipped in off the bench with nine points, as Argentina's starters seemed unable to get into rhythm. Team captain Maximo Fjellerup finished with only seven points, struggling from the field to the tune of 3-of-10 from the field. 

Despite those struggles, Argentina won the third quarter, 22-17, and looked like they may have been on the precipice of putting a scare into Team USA.

Via USA Basketball Instagram

It just wasn't to be.

The United States, perhaps with a fire lit up under them due to that run by Argentina, came storming back with an instant game-clinching run to start the final 10 minutes. They scored 16 of the first 21 points to begin the period, opening up a lead that would prove to be insurmountable for the Argentines.

With this win, Team USA is now 30-0 in U16/17 play over the last four years, all but two of those triumphs coming by 20 points. The United States remains undefeated in this U16 event, a biannual event that saw its inaugural tournament happen in 2009. 

A heavy favorite coming into this year's eight-team event, the United States will have a chance to clinch a Group A championship on Thursday when they face the Bahamas, who defeated Mexico earlier on Wednesday. 

Should the United States continue their recent stretch, they would go on to play the second-place finisher in Group B once the elimination round starts Friday. Chile currently sits in the second-place spot in Group B, having lost to leader Canada on Wednesday. 

Argentina will take on Mexico on Thursday, as they look to clinch up a spot in the elimination round as well. 

 

FIBA Americas U16 Standings (Thru USA vs. Argentina)

Group A

W-L  

Group B

W-L

USA

2-0

Canada

2-0

Argentina

1-1

Chile

1-1

Bahamas

1-1

Puerto Rico

0-1

Mexico

0-2

Uruguay

0-1

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