Team USA to face Australia in Melbourne exhibition games

ABS-CBN Sports on Mar 18, 2018 08:24 AM
Team USA to face Australia in Melbourne exhibition games
San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich gestures during the first half of Game 1 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Spurs in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Team USA press release

COLORADO SPRINGS –  USA Basketball and Basketball Australia today announced the nations’ men’s national teams will play two exhibition games in Melbourne in 2019 in the lead-up to the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup that will be held Aug. 31-Sept. 15 in China.

The USA-Australia exhibition games will be played at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne on Aug. 22 and 24.

“I’d like to express our thanks to Basketball Australia and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews for all their help in making these exciting exhibition games a reality,” said Jim Tooley, USA Basketball CEO. “Prior to the basketball world’s attention being focused on the 2019 FIBA World Cup, the USA-Australia exhibitions will be an opportunity for basketball fans worldwide to see two of FIBA’s top teams compete. These games will not only be important in the USA’s World Cup preparations, but they renew a special international basketball rivalry.

“The USA-Australia game at the 2016 Rio Olympics was intense, passionate and a very competitive game that came down to the final minutes. We expect these friendlies in 2019 will again showcase international basketball at its highest level and offer sports fans a very memorable event.”

NBA San Antonio Spurs mentor Gregg Popovich is serving as head coach of the 2017-20 USA Basketball Men’s National Team. Players selected to represent the USA in 2019 are expected to be NBA players who are part of the 2019-20 USA National Team roster.

“This announcement is a landmark moment for Basketball Australia and all those fans of our great game. I believe that this event will be long remembered in Australian sporting history,” said Basketball Australia CEO Anthony Moore. “I am thrilled that Basketball Australia will be hosting the USA Basketball Men’s National Team in Australia for the first time since the 2000 Sydney Olympics and my sincere thanks go to Premier Andrews and Visit Victoria for sharing in our vision.

“It is a momentous partnership between two leading national federations and shows the level of respect that Australian basketball now commands on the world stage.”

Last meeting on Aug. 10, 2016, in preliminary round play of the 2016 Rio Olympics, it took the U.S. nearly all four quarters to pull away from Australia and record a 98-88 win.

The two nations have met in each of the last four Olympics, with the USA winning each of those meetings - 98-88 in 2016, 119-86 in 2012, 116-85 in 2008 and 89-79 in 2004.

The USA and Australia last clashed in FIBA World Cup play in 2006, which was a 113-73 victory for the USA.

The two national teams also met in a memorable pre-Olympic exhibition game on Sept. 9, 2000, in Melbourne, a game in which the USA claimed an 89-64 win.

“This is the one Australian basketball fans have been waiting for, and there’s no better place to host the USA team than in the sporting capital of the country – Victoria,” said Premier Andrews.

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