Mark R. Bacon—Main Event Sports DC
The United State’s hopes of winning a third consecutive FIBA gold medal—and sixth consecutive international gold medal —are gone.
The United States lost to France, 89-79, in the quarterfinals of the 2019 FIBA World Cup on Wednesday, snapping a streak of 58 straight wins in international competition. It also marked the United States’ first loss in the FIBA World Cup since 2006 when it lost to Greece in the semifinals. With the loss, the U.S. will fail to get a medal for only the second time in the last 10 editions of the tournament.
The win sends France to the semifinals where it will face Argentina, which scored an impressive upset victory over Nikola Jokic and Serbia. Those two teams will go head-to-head on Friday, while Team USA will face off against Nikola Jokic and Serbia in a consolation game on Thursday.
Former Louisville star and Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell led the way for Team USA with 29 points, six rebounds and four assists, while Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (11 points, two assists) and Kemba Walker (10 points, three rebounds) added some production of their own, but ultimately it wasn’t enough. Jazz center Ruby Gobert had a double-double for France (21 points, 16 rebounds), and Orlando Magic guard Evan Fournier added 22 points and four assists of his own. Frank Ntilikina also added 11 points and played some solid defense on both Walker and Mitchell for France.
If there’s any silver living to this year’s FIBA World Cup for the United States, it’s that it was able to qualify for next year’s Olympic games in Japan before being eliminated from medal contention. The U.S. will clearly have to make some major tweaks to the roster before the Olympics get underway.