June 30, 2010
San Antonio, Calif. -
FIBA Americas.com | USA Basketball Web Site
Trailing by as many as nine points in the second half, Marquette University freshman Vander Blue and the rest of the USA Basketball U18 National Team rallied for an emotional 81-78 victory over Brazil to claim the gold medal at the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Men in San Antonio, Texas.
With the scored tied at 78-78, Blue drove to the basket from the right wing and kicked the ball to Quincy Miller in the right corner. Miller calmly gathered the perfect pass and knocked down what would prove to be the game-winning 3-pointer with 25 seconds left.
"Hard work pays off and I am proud of the effort the team gave tonight," Blue said. "We never gave up."
Blue finished the game with a personal tournament-high 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field in 25 minutes of action. Brazil rallied to take a 35-34 advantage at the half and led by five points entering the fourth quarter despite 11 points from Blue in the third stanza. His quarter was highlighted by an impressive transition dunk and a 3-pointer from the right wing.
"What an incredible memory for Vander," head coach Buzz Williams said. "We are all excited for him and all those involved with USA Basketball. We have been in constant communication with Vander while he has been in Texas and he is so grateful to have been a part of this experience."
Team USA finished the tournament with a perfect 5-0 record and previous to the last-second win over Brazil had claimed four victories by an average of 49.5 points. Blue concluded the event averaging 7.2 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game in an average of 19.0 minutes per outing. He shot 56.5 percent from the field and finished second on the roster and eighth among tourney participants in steals (9).
Blue is expected on campus next week to begin classes at Marquette.