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United States’s bid for men’s Basketball World Cup gold medal ends with loss to Germany

Franz Wagner (right), former Celtic Daniel Theis, and Germany defeated the United States in the World Cup semifinals in Manila, Philippines.Michael Conroy/Associated Press

MANILA, Philippines — There will be no gold medal for the United States at the men’s Basketball World Cup.

Instead, it’s Germany on the cusp of a world title.

Andreas Obst scored 24 points, Franz Wagner added 22, and Germany shredded the US defense for much of the way in its first win over the Americans, 113-111, in the World Cup semifinals on Friday.

“This team is very worthy of winning a championship,” US coach Steve Kerr said. “And we just didn’t get it done.”

Now, questions will fly once again. USA Basketball has been talking for years about how the continuity of top international teams has closed what was once a sizable gap between the Americans and the rest of the world. The United States has won the last four Olympic titles, but now it’s two straight World Cups with no gold for the winningest program on the planet.

“Terrible,” US guard and captain Jalen Brunson said. “Plain and simple.”


Germany — the last unbeaten team in the tournament at 7-0 — will play Serbia on Sunday (8:40 a.m.) for the World Cup title. Serbia beat Canada in the first semifinal, getting to its second World Cup final in the last three tournaments; it lost 129-92 to the U.S. in the 2014 championship game.

Canada will play the United States for bronze Sunday (4:40 a.m.).

Anthony Edwards scored 23 points for the Americans (5-2), who got 21 from Austin Reaves, 17 from Mikal Bridges, and 15 from Brunson. The Americans shot 58 percent, but let Germany shoot 58 percent as well, and that was the ultimate undoing.

Obst hit the shot of the night, a 3-pointer with 1:15 left to put Germany up by four and just about snuff out a last-ditch US rally. Germany led for 30 of the game’s 40 minutes, the Americans led for about 4:30, and there was little question who was controlling play much of the way.


“It’s a special group,” Germany coach Gordie Herbert said after his team made the World Cup final for the first time. “The way we played, the way we played together, we stuck together when things got tough, and we had players who made some huge plays. One more to go.”

The United States, down by 10 midway through the fourth, nearly pulled off a comeback, getting within one point on two separate occasions in the final minutes. But the Americans never got the lead, and it was the Germans jumping and hugging as time expired.

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“We knew the task at hand, and that was to go win,” US guard Austin Reaves said. “And we didn’t do that.”

The previous high for points allowed by a US men’s team in the Olympics or World Cup — going back to 1992 when NBA players could be used — was 110. And that was earlier in this tournament, against Lithuania, which also was a loss.

“If you give up 113 points in a 40-minute game, you’re not going to win many of those,” Reaves said.

Former Celtics player Daniel Theis had 21 points for Germany. Theis has scored 21 or more points six times in his NBA career — and picked Friday for one of the games of his life.

Serbia 95, Canada 86: Even with its best player, Nikola Jokic, sitting out this summer, Serbia is going to play for gold at the Basketball World Cup.


Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 23 points and Serbia defeated Canada in the World Cup semifinals on Friday. Ognjen Dobric and Nikola Milutinov each scored 16 for Serbia, the best-shooting team so far in the tournament — making 55 percent of its shots coming into the day, then connecting on 62 percent to end Canada’s hopes of gold.

“It doesn’t matter who’s not here,” Serbia’s Marko Guduric said. “It’s all about this group of guys, whoever is here, whoever is wearing this Serbian jersey. We never give up. We fight until the end. It’s in our blood.”

Boston Globe Today: Sports | September 8, 2023
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