The Americans were up 53-38 at halftime against Canada and kept their feet on the gas to cruise to an easy 109-67 win.
Florida head coach Billy Donovan is also the head coach of the under-19 squad and liked what he saw on offense from the beginning, but would like more on defense.
“I thought our guys got off to a pretty good start offensively,” Donovan said Friday. “I just thought defensively we had some breakdowns and loose balls that allowed them to stay close.”
The taller Americans have been rebounding monsters on this tour and Donovan says that is a real reason they have remained undefeated.
“I think that’s going to be us because sometimes it’s hit and miss from the 3-point line, some games we shoot it really, really well and some games we haven’t,” Donovan said about rebounding being a team strength. “But the one thing about our team is when we do get it up on the glass we have the opportunity to offensive rebound it, we’re right around 50 total rebounds (a game) for the tournament and that’s a pretty impressive number.
Michael Frazier got his first start of the tournament and earned it with his 12 points from behind the line, good for second on the team. This should have come sooner for the Gators sophomore, but it has been a mental thing for him during the trip.
“It always feels good to get out of a slump,” Frazier said. “My teammates did a good job of finding me, trusting me to knock downs shots and the ball went in tonight.
“I’ve been getting looks before and my teammates were finding me before, it’s just a matter of me shooting with confidence and focusing on shooting one shot at a time and forgetting about the last shot, the last miss, and I think I did that tonight. My teammates did a great job of trusting me to make shots and that always feels good.
Saturday’s medal round semifinals play will feature the United States taking on Lithuania, while Serbia (6-1) will go against Australia in the other semifinal game. Winners will advance to Sunday’s gold medal game and semifinals losers will play for the bronze medal.
Donovan understands what is at hand against Lithuania on Saturday.
They’re a really, really good 3-point shooting team and they run some very, very difficult actions to guard,” he said. “The thing that is going to be challenging to our front court is there is going to be sometimes they’re going to have four to five 3-point shooters on the floor and that’s hard. We’ve got do a really, really good job transitioning from offense to defense and take away the 3-point line.
“This is going to be a game for us from the 3-point line, not fouling is going to important because Lithuania is too skilled offensively.”
Frazier has gotten the message from his coach and even a strong win wasn’t enough to convince Donovan of this team just yet.
“Coach said they are a very good team and if we would have played Lithuania today and come out like we did today in the first half they probably would have beaten us,” Frazier said. “That says a lot about their team and says a lot about how we have to come out tomorrow.”