RIGA, Latvia — Tim Hardaway Jr. scored a team-high 21 points and Jeremy Lamb tipped in his own miss to provide the U.S. with the winning margin as the Americans finished the FIBA under-19 world championship with a 78-77 victory against Australia in Sunday’s fifth-place game.
Creighton sophomore-to-be Doug McDermott added 13 points and five rebounds as the U.S. went 7-2 at the tournament.
“They completely and totally out-toughed us in the first half and our halftime was all about just matching their effort level,” said Team USA coach Paul Hewitt.
Australia, 5-3 at the tournament, took a 24-21 lead after the first period and increased its lead to seven in the second quarter. But with 0.8 seconds left before intermission, Hardaway scored on a drive and was fouled. The Michigan sophomore’s free throw made it 43-39 at halftime.
In the third quarter, the Americans finally were able to grab the lead.
Trailing 57-52 with less than 2:30 remaining in the third, U.S. forward Khyle Marshall scored a jumper, Hardaway finished off a fast break and Marshall scored on an offensive rebound to cut the deficit to one. Hardaway’s basket with 8 seconds remaining gave the Americans a 60-59 lead heading into the final 10 minutes.
But Australia would recover in the fourth quarter, taking a 63-62 lead early. Michigan State guard Keith Appling then led a U.S. surge with six straight points and Patric Young added a basket in the post to put the Americans in front 70-63 with 5:11 left.
Australia countered with an 8-2 run that made it 72-71. Hardaway missed a shot, then missed his offensive putback, and after securing the offensive rebound again, scored on his third attempt to make it 74-71.
However, Australia reeled off four consecutive points to regain the lead 77-76 with 40 seconds left.
Following a U.S. timeout, Lamb drove the baseline and let a floater go that bounced off the rim. The Connecticut sophomore managed to get to the rim and tip in his miss to give the Americans a 78-77 lead with 29 seconds remaining.
“I shot the floater and thought it would be good but I missed it and I luckily was able to get the tip-in,” Lamb said.
With 8.2 seconds left, Australia inbounded the ball to its leading scorer Hugh Greenwood. Greenwood scored 26 points, hitting six 3-pointers, but missed a desperation 3 that was well off target with Hardaway defending him.
“Coach Hewitt and the coaching staff had total confidence in me to stay on their best scorers throughout this whole tournament,” Hardaway said, “so I knew I was going to have to get one defensive stop and it was a do or die.”