After going a promising 3-0 in their first three World University Games match up, the Americans lost in a thriller to Australia. The final score was 93-84 in favor of the Australians after having both teams having shared the lead 11 different times.
From USA basketball’s website, the American’s head coach thought that his team’s problems mostly came from the defensive end.
“We had the five-point lead as we entered the fourth quarter, and then I think we just struggled defensively,” said USA head coach Bob McKillop (Davidson College). “We struggled to defend screens, we struggled to limit them to one shot, we struggled to contain penetration, and the struggle on the defensive end carried forward on the offensive end where we rushed things too much because we became in a hurry to score rather than stay within the framework of the system.”
The scoring leader for the Americans was Doug McDermott who picked up 22 points and was followed by Spencer Dinwiddie, of Colorado, who scored 14 points. Corey Jefferson of Baylor added 11 rebounds for the Americans who fought the whole game and who had the lead going into the 4th quarter.
The Australians were able to stiffle the American offense with their defensive system. It was the first time in the World Olympic Games that the USA shot less efficiently than their opponents and that went a long way towards the Americans losing the game.
Only one game remains on the USA’s preliminary schedule. It is against Canada, a team that is currently 4-0. A win against the Canadians would leave three teams at 4-1, Canada, Australia and the Americans. Because it would be a three way tie, it would be broken by points differential. Thanks to this, the Americans will need to beat Canada by at least 10 points in order to be ahead of the Australians.
Alex Kirk of New Mexico believes in his team’s chances and thinks that they should just approach their last game like any other match up.
“It’s just one of those things; we all lose games. Obviously these are important games that we needed to win, but we get to wake up and we get another shot with Canada tomorrow. All we need to be focused on now is getting ready for Canada and how we can focus for that game.”
After tomorrow, we will know if the US advances to the medal rounds and gets an opportunity at besting their 5th place finish from 2011. Their last gold medal performance was back in 2009.