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After knocking down six-straight wins in the 2019 FIBA World Cup, Matthew Dellavedova and Team Australia suffered a heartbreaking, 95-88, loss in Friday's thrilling double-overtime meeting with Spain in Beijing.
While the end result wasn't what the Boomers wanted, the squad can still close out the tournament on a strong note when they take on France in Sunday's bronze medal game. If the Aussies pull out a victory, it will be the country's first-ever World Cup medal and you best believe they won't go out silently.
In the third period of Friday morning's semifinal matchup, Team Australia looked poised to upset one of the world's foremost basketball powers. However, their lead came unraveled late in the fourth quarter when Spain took control in the last ten seconds of action. Spurs point guard Patty Mills tied the game with a free-throw on the final play but missed the next foul shot, sending the game into overtime.
The drama continued into the first extra period with Delly nearly sending Team Spain packing after a last-second floater bounced off the basket at the buzzer. In the final OT session, the Spaniards were finally able to pull away, ending the Aussies' run at a gold medal.
Despite the tough loss, Team Australia threw everything they could at Spain in a scrappy, admirable effort. Delly's performance was again rock-solid after the Cavalier guard tallied nine helpers in nearly 40 minutes of action on Friday. Delly's fellow point man - San Antonio's Patty Mills - also had a great game, canning 34 total points. Nic Kay of the Perth Wildcats was a terror throughout, tallying a 16-point, 11-rebound performance in 31 minutes of floor time.
For Spain, Toronto's Marc Gasol was excellent, scoring 33 points on 11-19 shooting. Phoenix's Ricky Rubio had a monster double-double with 19 points and 12 dimes while Sergio Llull of Real Madrid poured in 17 points, including four three-pointers.
As mentioned, this loss doesn't define Australia. They still have the opportunity to return home with their nation's first-ever FIBA medal when they meet France on Sunday in the bronze-medal game. That matchup tips off at 4:00 AM (ET) at the Wukesong Sport Arena in Beijing.
For Spain, they'll look to snag their second World Cup gold after winning their first at the 2006 FIBA World Cup in Japan. They'll do battle Argentina at 8:00 AM (ET) in Beijing.