Team USA falls to Australia 65-49
LONDON – The U.S. Paralympic Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Team showed that they could hang with defending champion Australia on Sunday night in London, but ultimately lost the contest 65-49.
Team USA made a few scoring runs, hanging with the Australians for most of the game, before the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games gold medalists pulled away. The Americans are now 2-2 at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
It was another game in which shots were not falling for the Americas, with no athlete even reaching double digits in scoring. Joshua Turek and Jason Nelms, who each scored eight points, led a squad that ended the night shooting just 37-percent from the floor.
Coach Jim Glatch was disappointed with the team’s missed opportunities.
"You know, those are inexcusable and we will talk about those in the team meeting, about focus and intensity and how we have to finish," coach Jim Glatch said. "We talk about that every meeting but there will be a little extra emphasis to get ready for Spain."
Glatch explained that the team has 10 "gold standards", one of which is not only trusting teammates but trusting yourself.
“Right now, I don't think the guys are trusting themselves," he said. "That's a problem, we have got to get them to trust themselves so that they can win basketball games like that.”
Tonight's contest might not matter too much in the grand scheme of things, as both teams will still advance to knockout stage for a chance at a gold medal.
“We’re approaching every game as if it’s our last game," forward Trevon Jenifer said. "That’s a game that we really wanted to win… That’s our mentality."
Team USA was expecting a physical game, which is exactly what Australia brought to the contest. Team USA’s response, however, was lacking in intensity according to guard Matt Scott.
“I don’t think we were as aggressive as we should have been both offensively and defensively," Scott said. "I think we have some firepower that we didn’t necessarily use and I think that this is going to be a learning experience that brings it out."
Team USA will face Spain on Monday at 9:15 p.m. local time. No matter the outcome, Team USA has already clinched a place in the quarterfinals but the match-up will be important in determining the seeding for the tournament bracket. If Team USA beats Spain, both teams will finish second in the group and Great Britain would be third.
Great Britain, the overwhelming crowd favorite, beat Team USA to win the bronze in Beijing.