June 21, 2012
SAO SEBASTIÁO DOS PARAISO, Brazil - Incoming freshman forward Jake Layman and the USA used a strong second-half performance to win the gold medal Wednesday night and defeat Brazil 81-56 at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Sao Sebastiáo dos Paraiso, Brazil.
Leading by just six at halftime, the USA increased its defensive pressure in the second half and outscored Brazil 44-25 to capture the squad's sixth FIBA Americas U18 gold medal in eight championships.
"It's an unbelievable feeling," said Layman. "We got what we came here for. We worked hard coming into it and that hard work paid off."
Over five games, Layman led the team in 3-point field goal percentage (.600) and finished fifth on the team in scoring averaging 7.6 points per game. Against Mexico on Sunday, Laymen turned in a standout performance with a game-high 18 points and followed it up with a 10-point effort in the USA's win over Argentina in the semifinals.
The USA, which averaged 97.2 points a game during the championship while winning its five contests by an average of 38.6 points a game, received scoring from 11 of its 12 players in Wednesday's gold medal game.
The U.S. improved to 43-2 all-time in the U18 zone championship and has qualified for next summer's FIBA U19 World Championship.Layman, a 6-foot-8 forward from King Philip Regional High School in Wrentham, Mass., averaged 26.5 points, 15 rebounds and 5.8 blocks a game his senior season. He signed a financial aid agreement with Maryland in November of 2011.