To this point in his USA Basketball career, Tyus Jones
has been content to distribute, create and pile up assists.
The Apple Valley (Minn.)
point guard showed he can also fill it up Friday at the FIBA U17 World Championship in Lithuania, putting up a team-high 22 points to go along with six assists as the United States blasted Canada 113-59 in quarterfinal play.
"Shots were just falling for me," said Jones, a 6-foot-1 rising junior. "I was putting the ball in the hole. It was just one of those nights for me. I take what the defense gives me. Setting up my teammates, just running the team is what I do. But I'll take what the defense gives me and they were giving me shots tonight."
The United States will face Spain in semifinal play Saturday. The Spanish squad is 4-2 in Lithuania and led by 6-10 center Ilimane Diop, a burgeoning NBA prospect who is averaging 16.0 points, 10.1 rebounds and 2.8 blocked shots per outing.
After producing 39 points in the fourth quarter Wednesday against China, the United States continued to produce big in the second half against Canada, outscoring its North American rival 67-29 in the final 20 minutes.
Houston wing Justise Winslow
(17 points, 13 rebounds), Florida point guard Joel Berry
(15 points), and Chicagoans Jabari Parker
(10 points, 8 rebounds) and Jahlil Okafor
(10 points) also finished in double figures for the Americans.
"We always have these big halftime speeches," Parker said. "Coming in after the second quarter coach talks to us and tells us what we have to do. Then we came out with the aggressiveness that we didn't have in the first half. We just came out and killed it."
The United States shot 62 percent from the field against Canada and also held a 59-36 advantage on the glass. Heading into Saturday's semifinals, the USA is averaging 101.6 points per game while allowing 58.3.