ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Ags’ Mullings scores 8 in win; Kirk plays 2 minutes
University of New Mexico forward Cameron Bairstow and New Mexico State guard Daniel Mullings are still playing for gold.
UNM center Alex Kirk and his USA Basketball teammates, however, can do no better than ninth place in the World University Games in Kazan, Russia.
Team USA lost back-to-back games to Bairstow’s Australia team Thursday and Mullings’ Canada squad Friday, meaning those two teams advanced out of Group C to the medal bracket of eight teams.
Kirk played just two minutes in Friday’s 94-85 loss to Canada despite Canada outscoring Team USA 52-22 in the paint and often having their way with the post players who were on the court for USA coach Bob McKillop, who coaches Davidson.
“We didn’t defend well enough to win the game,” Louisville guard Luke Hancock said after leading Team USA with 27 points in the loss. “That’s as simple as it gets. If you give up that many points, it’s going to be hard to win games no matter what you do.”
Mullings scored eight points and grabbed seven rebounds for Canada, which plays Brazil on Sunday.
Bairstow, meanwhile, was limited to four points in just seven minutes in a 131-43 win over the United Arab Emirates. That was one day after he scored 22 points Thursday in a win over USA.
Australia plays Lithuania on Sunday.
Team USA plays Norway on Sunday morning.
This is the second-consecutive World University Games the United States will not win a medal, though the team did advance to the medal bracket in 2011 before finishing fifth. Team USA has not won gold in the event since 2005.
Going into the tournament, Team USA emphasized outside shooting and through five games in group play attempted more 3-pointers (154 or 30.8 per game) than any of the other three countries in its bracket.