KAZAN, Russia — Doug McDermott scored a team-high 22 points for the U.S. men's basketball team, but it wasn't enough as the Americans fell to Australia 93-84 on Thursday at the World University Games.
Both teams are now 3-1 in preliminary round play in Group C, which will send two teams to the quarterfinals. Canada leads the division with a 4-0 record. Team USA closes out pool play against Canada at 4 a.m. Friday, needing a win to reach the medal round.
Should the Americans win against Canada, they would finish in a three-way tie for first with Australia and Canada, and the two spots in the quarterfinals out of Group C would be determined by point differential. The U.S. needs to win by 10 or more points to finish ahead of at least Australia in the standings and reach the medal round, which begins Sunday.
McDermott scored the first four points for the U.S., but the Americans quickly fell behind 15-7. The U.S. trimmed the Aussie's lead to 20-19 at the end of the first quarter, and neither team led by more than three points in the second quarter, which finished with a buzzer-beater from Colorado's Spencer Dinwiddie to give Team USA a 43-40 edge.
The U.S. led 64-59 at the end of the third quarter, but Australia opened the fourth with a 13-1 run to grab a 72-65 lead with 6:45 to play. McDermott hit two 3-pointers to keep the U.S. close, but the Australians used a 4-0 run with 1:28 left to seal the upset.
McDermott had nine of his 22 points in the fourth quarter, but Australian shot 12 of 16 from the floor in the fourth.
Team USA lost the rebounding battle 42-41 and the turnover battle 13-10.
Australia was paced by 23 points from Jason Cadee, while Cameron Bairstow chipped in 22.
“We just have to revitalize our spirit,” said USA head coach Bob McKillop of 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.”