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No time to feel 'feel sorry', Australia coach rallies team

·2-min read

Australia hoops coach Brian Goorjian Thursday called on his team to stay focused with a bronze medal clash to play, telling them: "If you can't handle disappointment, don't be involved in sport."

The Boomers, as they are known, saw another basketball gold medal chance slip away when they blew a 15-point lead at Saitama Super Arena to crash against three-time defending champions United States 97-78 in the semi-finals.

Australia have been trying to finish on the Olympic podium since the Melbourne Games in 1956 but have yet to make it despite contesting the bronze medal match four times.

Another third-place play-off now looms on Saturday and Goorjian said there was still plenty at stake.

"We've got something right now in front of us that has never happened in this country and let's get excited about that," he said. "We're very honoured and we're very excited to be involved in a game coming ahead that could be a country's first."

He added that he had told his players they must quickly put any disappointment aside.

"If you can't handle disappointment, don't be involved in sport and don't feel sorry for yourself," he said.

"I mean, are you serious about being in the top four in the world in these Games and have an opportunity to step to the plate and take a swing at something, and you're gonna hang your head?

"We get to go up and pull the bat back and step to the plate and take a swing. What a great opportunity."

The Boomers had a 24-18 lead after the first quarter and were 45-42 ahead at halfway, but the Kevin Durant-led Americans stepped up the pace in the third term to dominate and run away with the game.

Goorjian said he was proud of the way his team played for the first 20 minutes, but admitted they were undone by better tactics.

"I thought we controlled the tempo (in the first half), we didn't let them put the ball down our throat," he said.

"We went through the process of moving the ball and shooting the ball late in the shot clock. And then as the game went on and they just kept rotating bodies, rotating bodies, that process got harder and harder."

"They're as good a Team USA team that I've played against," he added.

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