Australia has coughed up another big lead to finish fourth at the basketball World Cup, losing to France 67-59 in the bronze-medal game.
Boomers’ bronze-medal woes
- 1988 Seoul Olympics: lost 78-49 to USA
- 1996 Atlanta Olympics: lost 80-74 to Lithuania
- 2000 Sydney Olympics: lost 89-71 to Lithuania
- 2016 Rio Olympics: lost 89-88 to Spain
- 2019 China World Cup: lost 67-59 to France
The Boomers led by 15 points in Sunday’s third quarter but, just as they did against Spain in Friday’s semi-final, could not land the killer blow as their wait for an international medal continues.
It is the fifth time the Boomers have lost a bronze-medal game, the four previous coming in Olympic competition.
Joe Ingles (17 points) took hold of the early scoring, gliding to the basket for a lay-up before his tough step-back made it 12 first-half points.
Rudy Gobert was kept scoreless and frustrated in the first half, sending a wild hook shot over the back-board to bring in the break.
The Boomers were humming in the third term when Ingles’s three-point play over Utah Jazz teammate Gobert put them up by 15.
But he went off briefly thanks to the blood rule and it all fell apart, with France heating up after a 25 per cent shooting effort from the field in their worst World Cup first half since 1963.
Andrew Albicy’s nine points came at all the right times for France, while Nando de Colo’s 19 points cancelled out Patty Mills’s 15.
It continues Australia’s long wait for an international medal and does so in brutal fashion, especially given they came so close to securing silver or gold in a double-overtime loss to Spain — having led by 11 — in the semi-final just two days ago.