USA Basketball falls to Serbia, endures worst major tournament finish

Christopher Bumbaca, USA TODAY
Published 9:47 a.m. ET Sept. 12, 2019 | Updated 9:50 a.m. ET Sept. 12, 2019CLOSEThe past 24 hours have been historic for USA Basketball — just not in a good way. One day after a loss to France ended its championship quest, Team USA fell to Serbia 94-89 at the FIBA World Cup on Thursday, marking the first time the U.S. has dropped back-to-back international contests since 2002. The loss to France on Wednesday previously ended a 58-game winning streak with NBA players on the international roster. Thursday’s result means the highest Team USA can finish at the tournament is seventh. That will be the lowest the U.S. has finished at a major tournament since NBA players began participating in 1992. The previous worst finish for a U.S. men’s team in 45 tournament appearances was sixth at the 2002 world championships. Their previous wins in the tournament secured a spot at the 2020 Olympics in Japan, however. WHAT WENT WRONG: Five reasons U.S. national team falteredThe U.S. was in trouble from the start, as it trailed 32-7 at the end of the first quarter. But the team woke up in the second quarter to make it a 44-40 game heading into halftime and trailed by three at the start of the fourth. Bogdan Bogdanovic led Serbia with 28 points on 7-of-14 shooting from three-point range. The Sacramento Kings guard added four rebounds and six assists. Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets took only four shots and made three, finishing with nine points, three rebounds and seven assists. For Team USA, Harrison Barnes led the way with 22 points, while Kemba Walker played a team-high 30:10 and finished with 18 points on 7-for-11 shooting. Jayson Tatum, who is dealing with a sprained left ankle, sat out again. Contributing: The Associated Press

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