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Team USA came up short in its bid to defend the title it won a year ago, settling for the bronze medal in the SHAPE International Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Francis Ebong of Sasebo Naval Base, Japan, scored 16 points and Ronald Bartley of Yongsan Garrison, South Korea, made nine assists to help the All-Armed Forces team beat Italy 88-65 in the third-place game Saturday.

It was Bartley’s second consecutive appearance in the eight-team, six-day tournament held annually in early December at Supreme Headquarters, Allied Powers Europe in Mons, Belgium. Latvia won the championship, beating defending runner-up Lithuania 84-63 for the gold medal.

Team USA went 4-2 overall, losing to Lithuania 85-84 on the tournament’s second day and to Latvia 80-69 in the first round of the playoffs.

The All-Armed Forces team opened strongly, downing Canada 103-42 behind Ebong’s 12 points and Bartley’s six assists. But despite a game-high 19 points from Ebong and 12 assists from Bartley, Team USA lost to Lithuania. After leading most of the way, Lithuania outscored All-Armed Forces 26-20 in the fourth period.

Team USA rebounded 101-62 over Turkey on Day 3, as Bartley scored 13 points and dished out eight assists and the Americans poured it on, outscoring the Turks 22-5 in the final quarter.

Next came a 122-36 rout of England, with the Americans scoring 40 third-quarter points, their highest total for one period in the tournament. Ebong, with 14, was among seven players in double figures.

Latvia led from the start in the playoff game. Ebong led the Americans with 19 points, while Bartley, who didn’t play against England, scored nine points but was held to three assists.


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