Oklahoma State's Smart helps lead USA Basketball Men's U19 team to gold
PRAGUE, Czech Republic -- Oklahoma State sophomore Marcus Smart and the USA Basketball Men's U19 team defeated Serbia 82-68 Sunday night in the gold-medal game of the FIBA U19 World Championships. It is the United States' fifth gold medal, but just the second since 1995.
Smart finished with 11 points, one of four Americans in double figures. He also recorded three rebounds, three assists and two steals. He finished the tournament with 22 thefts, tying Stephen Curry and Jonny Flynn for the second-most steals by an American in the FIBA U19 World Championships. Patrick Beverly holds the record with 31. Smart was 5-of-9 from the floor, but a dismal 1-of-6 from the free-throw line. He finished the tournament averaging 9.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.4 steals and 2.2 assists per contest.
The game was close through the first three quarters. The United States took a 26-22 lead at the end of the first quarter, but Serbia outscored the Americans in the second period and trailed just 40-38 at intermission. Smart missed most of the first half due to foul trouble.
After three periods, the United States led 57-51, but an early jumper by Serbia had the U.S. leading by just four with 9-1/2 minutes remaining in the game. However, the Americans went on a 13-1 run, ignited by Smart, who scored five of the United States' 13 points during the run.
The United States finished the tournament with a perfect 9-0 mark, undefeated for just the fourth time in 11 appearances in the U19 World Championships. Former Cowboy Matt Clark was a member of the U.S. team which won gold in 1979, the initial summer of the tournament.