Watch: Team USA loses again in worst-ever major basketball tournament finish

Sept. 12 (UPI) — Serbia beat the Team USA men’s basketball team 94-89 at the 2019 FIBA World Cup on Thursday in China. The setback means the Americans can place no better than seventh, their worst finish in a major international tournament.

The loss was the second defeat in as many days for Team USA, which lost to France 89-79 Wednesday in the quarterfinals. The loss to France snapped a 58-game winning streak in international competition for Team USA.

“The Serbian team are very experienced … They aren’t just talented. They play the game in a fantastic manner,” Team USA coach Gregg Popovich told reporters.

Team USA finished sixth at the 2002 world championships. The team will finish seventh or eighth, depending on the result of their consolation game Saturday.

Bogdan Bogdanovic scored a game-high 28 points for Serbia. Harrison Barnes led Team USA with 22 points. Kemba Walker scored 18 points and Khris Middleton had 16 points in the loss.

“I think that’s the beauty of competition,” Barnes said. “When we signed up, we made a pact we would do whatever we could to win basketball games and go out and try to win a gold medal. On the flip side of that, there is a chance we might not win.

“There are no regrets from our group in terms of what we’ve given, what we’ve sacrificed, the commitment everyone has made away from their families, teams, organizations and all of that. For us, we have to sit with that. No one has regrets.”

Serbia led 32-7 after the first quarter, before Team USA staged a 33-12 rally in the second quarter. Serbia led 44-40 at halftime. Team USA was in three points of the lead after outscoring Serbia 28-27 in the third quarter. Serbia outscored Team USA 23-21 in the final frame.

Team USA will battle Poland or the Czech Republic in the seventh-place game Saturday in Beijing. Serbia faces Poland or the Czech Republic in the fifth-place game Saturday.

Spain battles Australia and Argentina faces France to decide which teams will play in the 2019 FIBA World Cup championship.

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