USA Men's Hopes Ended by Netherlands at FIBA 3x3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament
Facing Netherlands (4-2) in the quarterfinals at the FIBA 3x3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament on May 30 in Graz, Austria, the USA 3x3 Men’s National Team (3-2) saw its dream of qualifying for the inaugural Olympic 3x3 competition dashed with a 21-16 loss.
Netherlands made four 2-pointers in the last 3:38, accounting for eight of its final 11 points to hold off the USA.
Netherlands went on to qualify for the Olympics after beating France in the semifinals. Poland (5-1) beat Latvia (6-1) to earn the other semifinal berth, and Latvia beat France (5-2) in the third-place game to earn the final men’s Olympic spot.
“Obviously, it's not the ending we wanted,” said Joe Lewandowski (USA 3x3 Men’s National Team coach/advisor). “One of the first things on my mind is what great representatives of USA Basketball and the country these men were. They were a pleasure to work with. They laid It on the line every day. They sacrificed so much, and for so long, for this opportunity, and there's a lot to be taken from that that perseverance and sacrifice.”
All four USA team members contributed points in the game, led by eight points from Joey King (Minnesota/Eagan, Minn.), and four times the USA led in the game, including 6-5 with 6:39 remaining in the game.
Netherlands evened the score, 6-6, at 6:29, and proceeded to build a 12-8 lead at 4:42. The USA tied it 12-12 with two points from King and Kareem Maddox (Princeton/Los Angeles, Calif.), who made the USA’s only 2 of the game.
Two quick 2s by Netherlands put them up 16-12, and the USA got no closer than three points, 19-16, with 1:25 to play. With the USA in the foul penalty, Netherlands made two free throws to end the game 21-16 with 1:04 on the clock. Robbie Hummel (Purdue/Valparaiso, Ind.) and Dominique Jones (Fort Hays State/Harlem, N.Y.) each had two points.
Netherlands finished the game shooting 14-25 overall, including 5-of-13 from 2-point, while the USA shot 15-of-25 but was just 1-of-6 from 2-point.
“Netherlands did a great job,” Lewandowski said. “They answered every call. I thought our guys kept battling, and Netherlands continued to make plays.”
The eighth and final men’s and women’s Olympic spots will be awarded at the FIBA 3x3 Universal Olympic Qualifying Tournament, which features six men’s and six women’s federations that did not have a basketball team at the 2012 or 2016 Olympic Games, from June 4-6 in Debrecen, Hungary. The USA Basketball 3x3 Men’s and Women’s National Teams are not eligible for the UOQT.
3x3 basketball is played with a 12-second shot clock on a half court. Baskets inside the arc and free throws are worth one point, and baskets made from outside the arc are worth two points. The winner is the first team to score 21 points, or the leading team at the end of the 10-minute game clock.