July 11, 2013
BOX SCORE: Australia 94, United States 83
Kazan, Russia --- Cameron Bairstow made it 2-for-2 against Bob McKillop coached teams, as the Lobo senior forward blitzed USA basketball with 22 points, paving the way for Australia's comeback 93-84 win over the Americans, setting up a wild finish in Pool C at the World University Games.
The game was a see-saw battle through the first half until a Spencer Dinwiddie three at the halftime buzzer gave the Americans a 43-40 lead. The US eventually went up 59-49 with 2:44 to go in the third, but Australia roared back with 34 points over the next 10 minutes. It was Bairstow who kick started the whole thing.
He found Cody Ellis for a three, one of his team-high five assists, and then hit a jumper of his own to whittle the lead down to five, where it would stay at the break, at 64-59 USA. In the fourth, a quick 10-1 run gave the Boomers the lead for good after Bairstow found Valpo's Ryan Broekhoff for a tying three-pointer moments before.
With 4:22 left, Cameron gave the Boomers a 9-point lead with the last of his 22 points. The US got the game down to four points with 18 seconds left at 88-84 after a Sean Kilpatrick layup, but after two Australia free throws, the US missed and quickly fouled. Australia missed the free throw, but got the rebound which led to a three-point play. Those final five Aussie points could prove critical in the tiebreaker.
The first tiebreaker is head to head, but assuming an Australia win over the United Arab Emirates, a US win over Canada at 3 a.m. Mountain Time would mean that all three teams (Canada, the US, and Australia) would be 4-1, and 1-1 against each other, meaning that the tiebreaker is point differential in just the games between the tied teams. Australia is even, having won by nine and lost by nine. For the US to advance, it has to beat Canada by 10 points. Had the US just lost by four, as it was with 20 seconds left, a win over Canada would have guaranteed a medal round berth, and Canada would have also automatically advanced had they not lost by more than 13.
The USA Basketball media relations staff is looking up what the third tiebreaker is should the US win by nine, meaning all three teams would be even. As it is now, a bizarre situation could occur where the US could be forced to foul to gain extra possession despite leading at the end of the game. It is also possible that if the US is ahead by just two points, it could conceivable elect to score into its own basket to get an overtime period in order to win by the required 10 points.
Bairstow played 26 minutes for Australia, going 11-for-18 for his 22 points. He grabbed nine boards, and for the fourth straight game led Australia in assists with five. He is averaging 19.3 points per game in the tournament and 4.0 assists per game as well.
Alex Kirk was one of two Americans who did not see action in the contest. Kirk, who is Bairstow's roommate on most UNM road trips, had been averaging 4.0 points per game and 5.3 rebounds per game over the first three games. His 5.7 rebounding average is third on the team, and that could have come in handy as the US was outrebounded 42-41.
Despite not playing, Kirk was positive about the US team's chances to advance. "It's just one of those things; we all lose games. Obviously these are important games that we needed to win, but we get to wake up and we get another shot with Canada tomorrow. All we need to be focused on now is getting ready for Canada and how we can focus for that game."
The game between the US and Australia will shown live on ESPNU at 3 a.m. Mountain Time on Friday morning.