Zaragoza, Spain – The semi-finals of the 2016 FIBA U17 Men’s World Championship tipped off today, as Turkey, Spain, Lithuania, and the defending champion United States have secured the final four spots in the tournament.
Turkey punched their ticket into the semis by upsetting Canada, 80-74. It was a hard fought win for Turkey over a Canadian team who some considered as the title favorites. Turkey received double-double performances from both Ragip Berke Atar and Ahmet Can Duran. Atar scored 28 points and collected 15 rebounds while Duran added 14 points and 14 boards. Canada got a game-high 33 points from RJ Barrett and Danilo Djurcic posted 19 points and eight rebounds.
With the win, the Turks have set themselves up for a match-up with host Spain. Spain advanced to the semi-finals after beating Australia, 74-63. Sergi Martinez led the Spaniards with 26 points and nine rebounds. The Aussies got 16 points from 6-8 Tom Fullarton, while 6-10 Sam Froling chipped in a solid 12 points and 13 rebounds. However, it was a disappointing outcome from the Australians, who had reached the final in each of the past two tournaments. Australia will play Canada in the Classification 5-8 group.
The Lithuanians find themselves in the semis after an exciting 73-72 overtime victory over France. Arnas Velicka spearheaded Lithuania to the win with a stat line of 23 points, five assists, and four rebounds. Ignas Sargiunas added 16 points. France couldn’t hold onto the lead after rebounding from a 15-point deficit. Jaylen Hoard went for 21 points and eight boards. Ivan Fevrier had 13 points.
Next up for Lithuania is the reigning champion United States, who dominated its quarter-finals match-up against Korea, 133-81. Seven Americans scored in double-figures, led 24 points, six assists, and five rebounds from Collin Sexton. Kevin Knox II and Carte’Are Gordon had 17 and 16 points, respectively. Yang Jae Min scored 14 points for the Koreans. Korea will face France in the Classification 5-8 group.
Bosnia and Herzegovina beat the Dominican Republic 96-73 and will battle it out with China for 9th place. The defending U16 European champions got 34 points and 10 rebounds from Dzana Musa. Aljosa Jankovic recorded the first triple-double in U17 Worlds history with 15 points, 18 rebounds, and 10 assists to go along with five steals. China handily defeated Finland 77-57. Wang Yibo scored 21 points for the Chinese. Miika Heinonen scored 11 points for the Finns, who will play the Dominican Republic for 11th place.
Chinese Taipei beat Mali 77-61 in the Classification 13-16 group behind 20 points from Lin Ting Chien. It was Chinese Taipei’s first win at the U17 Worlds. They’ll face Argentina in the 13th place game. The Argentines enter the game after a thrilling 76-73 triple-overtime victory over Egypt. It was the first triple-overtime game in the tournament’s history. Lautaro Lopez recorded 20 points while Ahmed Khalaf had a monster 20 points and 22 rebounds with five blocks. Egypt prepares to face Mali for 15th place.
Tajh Jenkins is a correspondent for NetScouts Basketball.