The U.S. men’s national basketball team will return home without medals.
Team USA fell to France 89-79 on Wednesday in Dongguan, China, in the 2019 FIBA World Cup quarterfinals. The shock defeat sent Team USA to the fifth-eighth place semifinals, where it will face Serbia on Thursday knowing it has failed to match feats of its forbearers.
The loss also ended Team USA’s impressive winning streak when NBA players comprise its roster.
Several superstars withdrew from the national team this summer, leaving Gregg Popovich to coach a squad that was low on talent but determined to prove doubters wrong. The group ultimately was unable to do so.
Donovan Mitchell led the U.S. with 29 points Wednesday. Boston Celtics guards Marcus Smart and Kemba Walker scored 11 and 10 points, respectively. Celtics swingman Jaylen Brown added nine points. Boston forward Jayson Tatum didn’t play due to an ankle injury.
After the game, FIBA shared on its website three more statistics, which add a historic perspective to Team USA’s loss to France.
“For the first time since 2002, USA will not be on the podium; for the first time since 2006, they lost a game in the World Cup; and for the third time in the history of this competition, they will not win the event in Asia (5th in Philippines in 1978, 3rd in Japan in 2006).”
Thumbnail photo via Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports Images