Team USA finishes fifth at FIBA World Championships

BY DI STAFF | JULY 11, 2011 7:20 AM

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The United States used a 78-77 win over Australia on Sunday to finish in fifth place at the FIBA U19 World Championship in Latvia.

Michigan guard Tim Hardaway Jr. scored a team-high 21 points, but Connecticut star Jeremy Lamb struck the decisive blow. Lamb was 2-for-16 from the field, but he tipped in his own miss with 29 seconds left in the game to give the U.S. the lead.

“I shot [a] floater and thought it would be good, but I missed it, and I was luckily able to get the tip-in,” Lamb said in a release.

The United States finished a 7-2 tournament record with a win in a back-and-forth affair and used Hardaway’s scoring and Lamb’s timely interior presence to overcome Australian sharpshooter Hugh Greenwood’s game-high 26 points.

U.S. head coach Paul Hewitt wasn’t thrilled with his team’s effort in the first half, though. The Americans went into the intermission trailing 43-39.

“[Australia] completely and totally out-toughed us in the first half,” Hewitt said in a release. “Our halftime [talk] was all about just matching their effort level.”

The George Mason head coach said he was more pleased with his squad in the second half, but also said he thought his players were fortunate to escape with the victory.

The win was a bright way to end an otherwise disappointing tournament for the Americans, who played well in stretches and defeated eventual champion Lithuania in overtime but failed to medal after dropping consecutive games to Croatia and Russia last week.

Team USA was also blown out in both exhibition games it played at the beginning of its two-week trip to Europe.

Iowa forward Melsahn Basabe tried out for the team in June but failed to make the final roster.

— by Seth Roberts

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