July 14, 2013
Kazan, Russia --- Cameron Bairstow's short-range shot with 38 seconds left broke a 55-55 tie, as the Australia Boomers ranked up a huge upset, 60-55 over previously undefeated Lithuania, catapulting the Boomers into the semifinals against Serbia on Monday morning at 4 a.m. Mountain Time.
For USA Basketball, the Americans had a much easier time, knocking off Norway 91-51 as Alex Kirk led the squad in rebounding for the second time this tournament, picking up eight along with four points. Bairstow had five points and five rebounds for the Aussies.
Australia recorded its second fourth quarter comeback in as many wins, after coming back in the fourth against USA Basketball last Thursday. Australia was down 10 in the second quarter, and still down 47-40 with 9:28 left in the game before mounting an eventual 20-10 advantage in the final quarter. Down 49-44, the Boomers went on an 11-0 keyed by two Ryan Broekhoff three-pointers to go up 55-49 with 3:28 left.
Serbia responded with three straight baskets by Vytenis Cizauskas and the game was leveled at 55 with a minute to go. Bairstow then went into hero-mode, taking a feed inside from Jason Cadee and hitting a layup for the eventual winning points. Serbia couldn't answer, and the Aussies made three free throws the rest of the way for the final margin.
Bairstow played 20 minutes, going 2-8 from the field with five points and five boards.
The US had an easy time of Norway in the early morning matchup as the US goes for ninth place. Kirk played in 10 minutes for the Americans, going 2-for-3 from the field for four points, and a team-best eight rebounds.
It marked the second time he has led the US in rebounding, as he had a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds in the opener against the United Arab Emirates. "We started having fun again, and I think that's important because everyone was starting to hit shots and getting open dunks," said Kirk. "That's what's fun, and that's why you play basketball, to have fun with it. I think that kind of got the energy going, and then our bench came through. The second-set sparked that, so that was a lot of fun."
Australia (5-1) and Serbia (6-0) is the first semifinal game on Monday, with a battle of unbeatens, Canada and Russia to follow. The two winners will play for the Gold Medal on Tuesday. The US plays at midnight Monday morning against Germany (4-2), and would then play either Mexico (4-2) or Finland (4-2)