The possibility of a United States-Canada gold medal game at the FIBA U17 World Championships remains alive as both teams reached the round of 16.
Both countries handled business in their respective group-stage finales on Sunday. The Americans routed Egypt 104-57 in Zaragoza, Spain, to finish 3-0 on top of Group A. Later Sunday afternoon, Canada defeated China, 105-54, to polish off a 3-0 showing in Group C.
For the United States, Marquette commit Markus Howard led seven players in double-figures with a game-high 19 points on 7-for-13 shooting to go along with six assists and five rebounds. Gary Trent Jr. added 17 points and six rebounds.
"We came out right away and really took it to them right off the bat," said USA U17 coach Don Showalter said via USA Basketball press release. "We need to do that to teams in order to get us going, and also to get other teams to understand that this is as hard as we're going to play throughout the whole game. So, I was really pleased with how we started those first five, six, seven minutes. We did a great job there."
Immanuel Quickley, Collin Sexton, Kevin Knox II and Jaren Jackson Jr. all registered DNPs. Sexton led the United States in scoring over its first two wins at 16.5 PPG.
The Canadians got 17 points, four rebounds and two blocks from 2019 Montverde Academy star R.J. Barrett, and another 13 points and 11 rebounds from his Montverde teammate, 2018 forward Simi Shittu, in their win.
Barrett, the son of former St. John's guard, and Canada Basketball Executive Vice President and Assistant General Manager Rowan Barrett, has been among the top players at the event, averaging. 17.5 points on 52.4 percent shooting and six rebounds through Canada's first two games.
The United States, 26-0 all-time at the U17 World Championships dating to 2010, will square off against Argentina on Tuesday in the round of 16. Canada will face the Dominican Republic.
The quarterfinals are Thursday, the semifinals Friday and the gold medal game on July 3 at 3 p.m. With the U.S. and Canada on opposite sides of the bracket, the only time they would meet is for the gold.
"From here on out we have to treat every game like it's our last," Howard said. "Like coach said, we have to treat every game like a (NBA Finals) Game 7. We have to have that mindset and mentality that it could be our last game, so we have to play our hardest and not let anybody get the best of us."