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It took just one game for the USA World University Games men’s basketball team to go from riding high to near elimination.
The USA was dropped by the Australian WUG team Thursday. Australia’s Jason Cadee scored 16 of his game-high 23 points in the final 10 minutes of the contest to lead his team to a 93-84 win over the USA.
The loss, the first for the USA at the Games, puts the team’s back against the wall. To continue to direct-elimination play, the USA must top Canada (4-0) by no less than 10 points today to earn a tiebreaker over the Australians — only the top two teams from each pool advance.
University of New Mexico standout and former Hilltopper star Alex Kirk did not appear in Thursday’s loss, one of two USA players that didn’t get into the game.
This was the first time Kirk didn’t make an appearance in the USA’s pool competition and it was also the first time the USA had been outrebounded, by a 42-41 margin. Kirk has 17 rebounds in limited playing time throughout pool play.
Kirk’s Lobo teammate, Cameron Bairstow, had 22 points for Australia, hitting 11 of 18 shots from the floor.
Doug McDermott once again led the USA in scoring with 22 points, but he, like most of the rest of the Americans, was spotty connecting from the floor, going 7-for-18. For the game, the USA shot 41.7 percent from the field, while Australia was near the 50-percent shooting mark.