KAZAN, Russia - Doug McDermott had a team-high 22 points, but it wasn't enough as Team USA fell to Australia 93-84 on Thursday night in preliminary round play at the World University Games.
Both teams are now 3-1 in Group C, which will send two teams to the quarterfinals. Canada leads the division with a 3-0 mark heading into tonight's game vs. Czech Republic (1-2). Team USA closes out pool play vs. Canada tomorrow at 4 am Central, needing a win to reach the medal round. The contest will air live on ESPNU, and be tape-delayed at 6 pm Central on ESPNU as well. Team Canada defeated Australia, 92-83, on Wednesday. Should the USA win against Canada, a three-way tie for first would result between the USA, Australia and Canada, meaning the two medal quarterfinal spots out of Group C would come down to point differential. The USA needs to win by 10-or-more points to finish ahead of at least Australia in the standings and reach the medal round.
McDermott (Creighton) scored Team USA's first four points, but the Americans quickly fell behind 15-7. Scores from three different men helped the US trim the Aussie's lead to 20-19 at the end of the first quarter, and a Sean Kilpatrick (Cincinnati) three-pointer returned the lead to to the US, 22-20, on the first trip of the second quarter. Neither team led by more than three points in a tightly-contested second quarter, which finished with Spencer Dinwiddie's (Colorado) three-pointer to beat the buzzer and give Team USA a 43-40 halftime edge.
McDermott tied Dinwiddie for team-high honors with 10 first-half points, then drained a triple on the first shot of the second half for the Americans. The US led 59-49 late in the third quarter before the bottom dropped out.
Australia got within 64-59 by the end of the third quarter, then opened the fourth stanza with a 13-1 run to lead 72-65 with 6:45 to play. Australia would lead 78-69 with 4:22 left before a three-pointer from McDermott trimmed the deficit to six. Austraila returned the lead to nine at 83-74 with 2:36 left, only to see McDermott drain another trey to give the US a chance. Two foul shots from Kilpatrick made it a four-point margin with 1:28 left, but Australia scored the next four points to ice the upset.
McDermott had nine of his team-best 22 points in the fourth quarter, but the Americans could not slow down an efficient Aussie attack that made 12-of-16 shots from the floor in the fourth period. In addition to McDermott's 22 points, Dinwiddie (14), Kilpatrick (10) and Indiana's Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell (10) also reached double-figures. Team USA lost the rebound battle 42-41 and the turnover battle 13-10.
Australia was paced by 23 points by Jason Cadee, while Cameron Bairstow had 22 points.
"We just have to revitalize our spirit," said USA head coach Bob McKillop from Davidson. "It was shaken by this, it was shaken by the exhibition loss. It's a very uncommon situation for USA Basketball. Leadership from the coaching staff and leadership from the team is going to be vital right now."
Following the preliminary round, the first and second-placed teams in each of the four pools advance to the medal quarterfinals on July 14 to compete for first through eighth places; while the remaining teams will play out for ninth to 24th places. The semifinals will be played on July 15, and the finals will be contested on July 16.
Assisting McKillop on the USA sideline are John Beilein of the University of Michigan and Frank Martin of the University of South Carolina.
The USA is looking for its first gold medal at the World University Games men’s basketball competition since 2005, and currently holds a 141-10 all-time record in World University Games play.
USA Basketball Based in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA Basketball is a nonprofit organization and the national governing body for men's and women's basketball in the United States. As the recognized governing body for basketball in the U.S. by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), USA Basketball is responsible for the selection, training and fielding of USA teams that compete in FIBA sponsored international competitions, as well as for some national competitions.
During the 2009-12 quadrennium, 1273 men and women players and 235 coaches participated in USA Basketball, including the USA Basketball 3x3 FIBA championships, USA Basketball trials and USA teams.
Between 2009-12, USA Basketball men's and women's teams compiled an impressive 264-35 win-loss record in FIBA and FIBA Americas competitions, the Pan American Games, the World University Games, the Nike Hoop Summit and in exhibition games. USA teams are the current men's and women's champions in the Olympics; men's and women's FIBA World Championships; women’s FIBA U19 World Champions; men's and women's FIBA U17 World Champions; and the men's and women's U18 and U16 FIBA Americas Championships.
USA Basketball also currently ranks No. 1 in all five of FIBA's world ranking categories, including combined, men's, women's, boys and girls.