USA Basketball will have the opportunity to add to its gold medal collection Saturday in the FIBA U17 World Championship final against Australia.
The Americans punched their ticket Friday with an 89-68 victory over Serbia, getting a team-high 15 points from MaxPreps All-American guard Malik Newman
of Callaway (Jackson, Miss.)
The FIBA event is being played in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Serbia stayed within striking distance through the first 20 minutes, trailing 39-36 at halftime.
"We knew coming in it was going to be a tough test," USA head coach Don Showalter said. "We told our kids that Serbia has had a history of really giving the United States trouble in games."
But the USA, which won its first five games of the competition by an average margin of 47.8 points per game, made a 13-4 run coming out of the locker room and outscored the European squad 50-32 in the second half.Dominican (Whitefish Bay, Wis.)
big man Diamond Stone
added 12 points and eight rebounds for the United States, while Caleb Swanigan
(11 points, eight rebounds) and Harry Giles
(10 points, 12 rebounds) also finished in double figures.
Forward Nikola Rakicevic led Serbia with 19 points. Standout guards Stefan Peno and Vojislav Stojanovic added 18 apiece.
The United States improved to 22-0 under head coach Don Showalter in FIBA U17 World Championship play dating back to 2010. In those 22 contests, just two opponents have been able to keep the final margin under 20 points.
USA Basketball has captured gold in every international competition since 2009 at the U19, U18, U17 and U16 level.
Australia will attempt to make history Saturday after an 80-74 semifinal win over Spain. Isaac Humphries, a 6-foot-11 center headed to La Lumiere (LaPorte, Ind.)
this fall, has starred in Dubai with averages of 20.7 points and 12.3 rebounds per outing.