SAO SEBASTIAO, Brazil—Incoming Pitt freshman James Robinson and Team USA claimed the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Basketball Gold Medal with an 81-56 championship game win over host Brazil last evening.
USA concluded the event with an undefeated 5-0 record, averaged 97.2 points per game and outscored its five opponents by an average of 38.6 points per game. In winning its sixth gold medal, USA teams are a combined 43-2 all-time in previous FIBA Americas U18 Championships (formerly known as the Junior World Championship Qualifier), and have captured gold in 1990, 1994, 1998, 2006, 2010 and now 2012.
Leading by just six points at halftime, USA used second half defense to register the win. Team USA broke the game open in the final period, taking advantage of a 7-0 rally to take a commanding 20-point fourth quarter lead. Early in the game and after Brazil trimmed the USA lead down to five points at 18-13, Robinson sparked the Americans with two consecutive driving layups.
Team USA's Julius Randle led all scorers with 18 points. Robinson finished with six points on 3-4 shooting, grabbed three rebounds and totaled two steals in a productive 15 minutes off the bench. It was USA's second victory over Brazil in three days.
"It's a great feeling to win the Gold," Robinson said. "To work this hard with this team and this coaching staff, it's a great feeling to know we came up with the victory. Today, I just tried to be aggressive and push the ball."
Through Team USA's five games, Robinson totaled 12 assists (2.4 apg.) while tallying only two turnovers and averaged 4.4 points (22 points) and 15.6 minutes per game. He led the Americans in assist:turnover ratio (12:2) and finished with seven steals.
The top four finishers from the U18 championship—USA, Brazil, Canada and Argentina—each earned an invite to the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship. Canada defeated Argentina to claim the bronze medal. Robinson will have the opportunity to compete for a roster spot in next summer's FIBA U19 World Championships.