U19

Anthony Miller high fives teammates as he leaves the court Sunday at the 2021 FIBA U19 World Cup for Men in Riga, Latvia. The U.S. held off France to claim back-to-back gold medals at the FIBA U19 World Cup.

A strong first half from LSU basketball signee Adam Miller helped the USA stay in the game and the Americans came on in the fourth quarter Sunday to slip by France and win the gold medal at the FIBA U19 World Cup in Riga, Latvia.

Miller, a 6-foot-3 guard who transferred to LSU from Illinois in May, scored all 12 of his points and added two rebounds, two assists and two steals in the first half as the U.S. team trailed 42-37 at the break.

Down 64-59 going to the final quarter, Team USA scored 11 unanswered points to grab a 69-68 lead at the 6:51 mark and held on for an 83-81 win.

With the victory, the USA men finished the tournament with a 7-0 record and won its second straight gold medal and fourth in the past five events. The tournament is held every two years.

Averaging 95.0 points a game, the USA's average margin of victory in its seven wins was 29.7 points per game.

“We battled. ... We were worn down, but we battled down the stretch and found a way, so I am proud of them,” USA head coach Jamie Dixon said.

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The USA surrendered the lead at the 8:26 mark of the second quarter after a 3-pointer from France (5-3) and wouldn’t regain an advantage until the fourth quarter.

Louisiana Tech standout Kenneth Lofton dropped in 16 points and had seven rebounds, two assists and a steal, while Miller had 12 points, four rebounds, three steals and two assists.

The 12 points for Miller was his high game of the tournament, which was held over nine days.

He also had 11 points, seven assists and two rebounds in a 132-60 blowout of South Korea on July 7.

Miller, a native of Peoria, Illinois, had eight points, seven assists and five rebounds in Saturday's 92-86 semifinal win over Canada.

He finished the tournament averaging 7.4 points, 3.6 assists and 3.3 rebounds in 20.4 minutes of playing time.

Email Sheldon Mickles at smickles@theadvocate.com