France rallied from a fourth-quarter deficit and knocked Team USA out of medal contention at the FIBA World Cup with an 89-79 win in the quarterfinals Wednesday in Dongguan, China.
Team USA had won 58 consecutive tournament games in FIBA and Olympic competition with NBA players dating to 2005 and leaves an international competition without a gold medal for the first time since 2006.
Evan Fournier carried France with 22 points and Rudy Gobert had 21 points and 16 rebounds.
“France beat us,” Team USA coach Gregg Popovich said. “I couldn’t be more proud of these guys who sacrificed their summer to be here having never played together. They put themselves in the arena and competed. They deserve credit for that. … They did a great job and I’m proud of them.”
The best possible finish for the U.S. in this World Cup would be fifth place.
Gobert said after the game no one on the France roster came to the World Cup to beat the U.S.
“It doesn’t mean anything if you don’t win in the end,” Gobert said.
Donovan Mitchell didn’t score in the fourth quarter but ended with a game-high 29 points. The U.S. went frigid on the offensive end in the fourth quarter and did not score on their final six possessions as France pulled away.
After trailing at halftime, Mitchell scored 14 points in the third quarter and Team USA took a 66-63 lead entering the fourth.
Jayson Tatum, who was listed as a game-time decision with an ankle injury, did not play for the fourth consecutive game.
Up next for the U.S. is a meeting Thursday with Serbia in the consolation round at Dongguan.
France squares off with Argentina in the semifinals.
Several marquee NBA players bowed out of the competition during training camp. Popovich defended the roster he brought to the World Cup.
“It’s a disrespectful notion to even bring that up. It’s disrespectful to France or whoever else is in the tournament. France beat us. … It’s not about the United States didn’t have their other guys,” Popovich said. “There’s no such thing as other guys.”
–Field Level Media