Jaylen Brown (R) of the United States breaks through during the Classification Games 7-8 between the United States and Poland at the 2019 FIBA World Cup in Beijing, capital of China, on Sept. 14, 2019. (Xinhua/Meng Yongmin)
BEIJING, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- Team USA defeated Poland by 87-74 at FIBA World Cup here on Saturday, finishing in seventh place overall, the worst-ever performance for the five-time world champions.
Donovan Mitchell had a team-high 16 points, also dished 10 assists. Joe Harris posted 14 points, Khris Middleton added 13 while Derrick White grabbed 12. Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, and Kemba Walker were sidelined due to injury.
Mateusz Ponitka finished with a game-high 18 points, also grabbed 7 rebounds for Poland. Adam Waczynski notched 17 points and A.J. Slaughter ended up with 15 points.
"We appreciate the hospitality from China. We've had a wonderful experience visiting six cities here. The best thing to me is that we've experienced it all together on the court and the life experiences off the floor." said Poland head coach Mike Taylor.
"Better teams got to the Final. That shouldn't be a surprise to anybody. It's not written in stone that USA should walk to a championship." USA head coach Gregg Popovich said after the game.
The USA surged a 13-0 run to take the lead on 31-14 in the first quarter and went up 16 in the second before Poland answered with 10 unanswered points to trim the deficit to 7 at 54-47 in the second half, however, they failed to overturn the shortfall.
The USA was knocked out in the quarter-finals by France and then lost their classification match to Serbia. However, the only silver lining being that the USA secured qualification to the Tokyo Olympics next summer where they will have the chance to defend their title.