Gonzaga freshman Chet Holmgren had a quiet first half, but he made plenty of noise in the third quarter as the U.S. pulled away from Australia at the FIBA U19 World Cup in Riga, Latvia.
The U.S., facing its toughest test in the tournament thus far, dominated the second half, turning a two-point halftime lead into a 67-50 margin after three quarters.
Holmgren had four points, five rebounds, three blocks and two assists in the third quarter. He swatted Jaylin Galloway’s dunk attempt at the rim. A short time later, Holmgren grabbed a shot by Tamuri Slim Wigness near the rim and drove the length of the court for a layup to extend the U.S. lead to 50-42.
Holmgren drove baseline, absorbed contact and finished with a short bank shot early in the fourth quarter to hike the lead to 19 points.
Holmgren finished with 10 points, eight rebounds, four blocks and three assists. He’s scored in double figures in all three U.S. wins. He made 4 of 5 field-goal attempts, the lone miss a 3-pointer that rattled in and out in the first quarter, and 2 of 3 free throws.
Australia edged the U.S. 78-72 in a pretournament scrimmage.
The U.S. (3-0) faces Korea (0-3) on Wednesday. The Americans outscored three Group D opponents by an average of 32.7 points. Korea lost its three Group C games by a combined 158 points.
There are no games Thursday. The quarterfinals begin Friday.
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