Duhon, Bell lead U.S. to U21 triumph


SAITAMA, Japan, AP

Duke’s Chris Duhon and Troy Bell of Boston College were on fire from the three-point line Sunday to lead the United States to an 89-80 win over Croatia in the final of the World Basketball Championship for Young Men. Bell scored 24 points, including six three-pointers, and Duhon was 5-for-12 from downtown in a 19-point effort and added 14 assists as the U.S. finished the 12-nation tournament with a perfect 8-0 record. “It was a great game,” said Duhon. “Croatia gave us everything we could handle. They made some unbelievable shots and fought us all the way to the end.” As they’ve done all tournament, the U.S. team had a big third period, scoring 27 points to take a 69-59 lead. Duhon had a pair from the three-point line and Troy Bell had two, including one at the buzzer from 30 feet out. The victory marks the second time in the history of the U21 tournament that the United States has claimed the gold medal. The U.S. won the inaugural tournament in 1993 in Spain. “It was by far our best performance,” said U.S. coach Jim Boeheim. “They were the first team that put us in a hole. Croatia played an almost perfect first half and we were very, very fortunate to be within five points at halftime.” Croatia led 47-42 at the half, getting three three-pointers from Mario Stojic and clutch baskets under the net from 7-foot center Bruno Sundov, who scored 14 points in the first half and 23 for the game The United States trailed by 11 points midway through the second period but Bell and Duhon combined for four three-pointers in the final two minutes of the half to cut the lead to five. Forward Federico Kammerichs scored 17 points in the fourth quarter to lead Argentina to an 87-82 victory over the Dominican Republic in the game for the silver medal. The Dominicans scored 24 points in the third quarter to pull within five points heading into the final 10 minutes and then tied the game early in the fourth before Kammerichs went to work. Earlier Sunday, Carlos Cabezas scored 19 points and had four rebounds and German Gabriel added 15 as Spain claimed fifth place overall with a 79-65 victory over Slovenia. Guard Afik Nisim was a perfect 3-for-3 from the three-point line and scored 13 points as Israel wrapped up seventh place with an 80-77 victory over defending champion Australia.