Creighton freshman Ryan Kalkbrenner had seven points and a team-leading eight rebounds in just 11 minutes of action to help the United States to an 88-58 win vs. Senegal on Friday at the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup in Riga, Latvia.
The United States (5-0) will face Canada (5-0) on Saturday in a semifinal match-up of the two top-U19 teams in the world in a game that will be broadcast on ESPN+ at 10 a.m. Central. The Canadian team includes Kalkbrenner’s Creighton teammate, Ryan Nembhard.
The United States jumped to a 9-0 lead in the opening minutes and have still not trailed in five games during the World Cup. Kalkbrenner checked in late in the first quarter and contributed a three-point play to help the US build a 32-14 lead after the opening 10 minutes.
Kalkbrenner made 3-of-4 shots from the field and his only free throw try. He also contributed a blocked shot. He is now averaging 6.2 points and 4.8 rebounds per game while shooting a collective 60.9 percent (14/23) from the floor. The Bluejay big man ranks ninth in the tournament among all players with 1.4 blocked shots per game.
The US had four men finish in double-figures, led by 12 points by Purdue-bound Jaden Ivey. Coached by TCU’s Jamie Dixon, the Americans dished 26 assists on 34 baskets, including five from TCU’s Michael Miles. The USA lead the FIBA U19 World Cup in total points (490), assists (137), blocked shots (37) and is third in total rebounds (258) through five games.
“I thought we played really good to start the game in the first quarter and thought we had tremendous passing,” Dixon said in a USA Basketball press release. “The press was good for us early, and they (Senegal) kept coming at us. I’ve got to give them respect. They battled, they kept playing and they killed us on the boards.
“They (Canada) are all players our kids know and are all high-major players going to college or at college,” stated Dixon. “So, we anticipated that Canada would be one of the final four teams, and that’s where they are. These are guys that our guys know, respect and are familiar with, so I think we know what we’re going to be going against.”
The semifinal winners advance to play in the gold medal game on Sunday, July 11. The other semifinal features Serbia meeting France.