USA Men Bounced By Serbia 17-14 At FIBA 3x3 World Cup
A pair of late 2-pointers from Serbia proved to be too much to overcome for the USA Men’s 3x3 World Cup Team (3-2), which fell to the reigning 3x3 world champions in the quarterfinals of the 2017 FIBA 3x3 World Cup on June 21 in Nantes, France.
The USA advanced into the quarterfinals of the competition as Group D’s No. 2 seed, after wins over New Zealand (1-3) and South Korea (1-3) on June 19, while Serbia (5-0) went unblemished through Group A to secure the No. 1 seed.
The matchup between USA and Serbia was the fourth all-time between the two nation’s on the 3x3 stage, with Serbia now owning the advantage, 4-0. Serbia has ended the USA’s run in all four FIBA 3x3 World Cups. Most recently, Serbia defeated the USA 21-16 in the 2016 FIBA 3x3 World Cup gold medal game.
“It was a very physical game today,” said Craig Moore (Doylestown, Pa.). “They tried to take us out of our rhythm. At times they did that well, and at times we made plays. But, at the end, I think we were one or two plays short.”
Daniel Mavraides (Los Angeles, Calif.) led the way for the USA with eight points, while Zahir Carrington (Philadelphia, Pa.), Damon Huffman (Petoskey, Mich.) and Moore all pitched in two points apiece.
Serbia gained control of the game early, 5-2, behind two 2-pointers, but the USA rattled off a 7-2 run of its own behind a 2-pointer from Moore at the 5:58 mark followed by another long range shot from Mavraides to give the USA a 9-7 lead with 5:45 to play. A pair of Mavraides layups knotted the game for the third and final time, 12-12, with 2:51 to go.
But, a Serbia 2-pointer with 2:09 on the clock gave it a 14-12 lead. The Serbians added another with 53 seconds to play to close out a 17-14 victory.
“Sure, it was a tough draw for us with Serbia, but there are a lot of good teams in this tournament and it was going to be tough no matter what,” Moore added. “They had some guys step up and make a couple of big 2-pointers. Between their third and fourth scorers, they had, I think, 12 points total before this game, and they scored seven or eight of their 17 points today. We made other guys beat us, but we came up just short.”
France defeated Ukraine 20-12 in the top half of the bracket to earn a semifinal meeting with Serbia, while the Netherlands will play Slovenia in the other semifinal. The gold medal game is set to begin at 3:30 p.m. (EDT) with the bronze medal game at 1:30 p.m. (EDT).
Now an annual event, the first FIBA 3x3 World Cup was held in 2012. Watch the semifinals and finals of this year’s competition live at YouTube.com/3x3planet.
USA 3x3 Men’s World Cup Teams have compiled a 16-9 overall record and claimed the silver medal, the first podium finish, in 2016.