Utilizing superior depth and balanced scoring that included another heavy dose of Tennessee power forward Jarnell Stokes, the Team USA downed Argentina 107-72 Tuesday at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Brazil.
Stokes started and finished with 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting while also adding five rebounds and a steal in 17 minutes of action.
The win, which featured all 12 U.S. players scoring, including seven in double figures, improved the USA's record to 4-0 and advanced the Americans into Wednesday's gold medal game.
The gold medal contest will be a rematch of Monday's USA-Brazil game (Team USA claimed an 83-64 victory). Brazil advanced to the gold medal game after handing Canada its first loss of the tournament by a 66-62 margin Tuesday.
"What I have told the guys is whatever has happened up to this point in time against any team we've played really doesn't mean anything," USA head coach Billy Donovan said. "So if you're playing (Wednesday) for a gold medal, regardless if it is Brazil or Canada, you can expect it's going to be a hard fought game because you know what, they're going to be playing for the same thing we're playing for."
The U.S. offense registered a tournament-high 107 points on 54.8 percent shooting overall Tuesday
"I thought in the second quarter we got a little bit `three-happy' there," Donovan added. "We were up 10 or 12 points, and I thought we took some quick, ill-advised threes. I thought in the second half we really played well. We got the ball inside, I think our first five or six possession we scored on, and we got stops and the lead went from 15 to 20 pretty quickly, then we extended it to 30.
"Our defense was a lot better in the second half, and we shared the ball. I thought in the second half we did a really good job of establishing our post people, getting the ball inside and we physically were able to wear them down."
In the hunt for a sixth gold medal, USA men's teams are 38-2 overall in previous FIBA Americas U18 Championships (formerly known as the Junior World Championship Qualifier), and have captured gold in 1990, 1994, 1998, 2006 and 2010, while winning a silver in 2008 and a bronze medal in 2002.
Former Tennessee and NBA standout Allan Houston played for that 1990 gold-medal squad in Uruguay.
By virtue of this week's games, the U.S., Canada, Brazil and Argentina each have earned a qualifying berth in next summer's 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship.