The U.S. came to China looking to again be the best in the world. It will go home with the worst tournament showing in program history. Such is the reality for the Americans now, assured of finishing no better than seventh at the World Cup after falling to Serbia 94-89 in a consolation game Thursday night. The previous worst finish for a U.S. men’s team in major tournament appearances was sixth at the 2002 world championships.
The Americans — the top-ranked team in the world — will be seventh or eighth in China, depending on the outcome of their consolation finale against Poland on Saturday. Harrison Barnes scored 22 for the U.S., which got 18 from Kemba Walker and 16 from Khris Middleton. And even though this team earned the U.S. a berth into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics field, Barnes noted postgame that Saturday’s finale may be the last time many members of the World Cup squad get the chance to play for their country
Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 28 for Serbia, which bolted to a 25-point lead and handed the U.S. its second loss in two days. Vladimir Lucic scored 15 for Serbia, which will play for fifth place Saturday.