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United States holds off Australia, moves to 3-0 in group play

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After convincing wins over China and Venezuela, things were bound to get much more difficult for the United States men’s basketball team. With an Australian team chock full of NBA veterans on the schedule for Wednesday night, the Americans were going to have to do more than simply show up to the basketball arena in order to win.

But with that being said, few people expected the game to be as difficult as it was. Mike Krzyzewski’s team ultimately won by the final score of 98-88, erasing their first halftime deficit in Olympic play since their disastrous bronze medal run in 2004. And for that the United States can thank team captain Carmelo Anthony, who in becoming the all-time leading scorer in USA Basketball history bailed his teammates out from what was a mediocre offensive performance.

WATCH: Carmelo Anthony becomes USA Basketball’s all-time leading scorer

Anthony finished the game with a team-high 31 points, shooting 11-for-21 from the field with nine of his made shots being three-pointers. Melo scored 14 of those points in the first quarter, surpassing David Robinson and LeBron James to grab the top spot on the all-time scoring list. Another run from Anthony, this one in the fourth quarter, provided the boost the Americans needed to avoid what would have been a major upset (Vegas lines closed with the U.S. favored by 27 points).Also key in the fourth quarter were a couple key shots from Kyrie Irving, one of which being a three from the right wing eerily similar to the one he hit in Game 7 of the NBA Finals for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

MORE: Carmelo Anthony wasn’t going to let America lose

Irving finished with 19 points and Kevin Durant added 14, but he provided those points on 4-for-16 shooting from the field. Remove Anthony’s numbers, and the United States shot 23-for-66 (34.8 percent) from the field. The ball and player movement of the Australians was superior to that of the Americans for most of the first three quarters, giving the Boomers a chance to win the game and move into sole possession of first place in Group A.

Patty Mills led four Australian players in double figures with 30 points, and as a team they shot 50 percent from the field. Mills and Matthew Dellavedova caused the Americans trouble in ball screen situations, and the poor hedges/switches resulted in clean looks for the upstarts. As they’re in the same group the United States and Australia can’t meet in the quarterfinal round, but Wednesday’s contest had the feeling of one that we could very well see again in Rio.

Justin Schoenefeld gets U.S.’ first men’s aerials World Cup win in 4 years

Justin Schoenefeld
U.S. Ski & Snowboard
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Justin Schoenefeld ended a four-year U.S. men’s aerials drought with his first World Cup win Saturday in Belarus.

Schoenfeld, 21, hit a double full-full-full in the super final to beat a field that included world champion Maxim Burov of Russia. Burov was fourth, one spot behind another American, Chris Lillis. Full results are here.

“I’m pretty speechless right now,” Schoenefeld said, according to U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “I’m just shocked. It just all came so quick, all of a sudden the two finals were over, and I was on top of the podium. I probably landed two of my training jumps yesterday, but I managed to land all of my comp jumps down to my feet.”

Schoenefeld’s best previous World Cup finish was fourth, in Belarus last season.

Lillis earned the U.S.’ last World Cup men’s aerials victory on Feb. 20, 2016, also in Belarus. The four-year gap between wins marked the longest for the U.S. men since aerials was added as an Olympic medal sport in 1994.

Schoenefeld also became the first American of either gender to win a World Cup aerials event in two years, since Kiley McKinnon on Jan. 6, 2018. That gap was the longest for the U.S. since 2005.

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MORE: Olympic aerials champion retires to coach

Kaillie Humphries wins bobsled world title in first season for U.S.

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Two-time Olympic champion Kaillie Humphries won a bobsled world title in her first season since switching allegiance from Canada to the U.S., ending recent German dominance.

Humphries, with brakewoman Lauren Gibbs, edged German junior world champ Kim Kalicki by .37 of a second combining times from four runs between Friday and Saturday in Altenberg, Germany.

“I love this track. It’s very challenging, one of the hardest in the world,” Humphries said, according to U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton. “It demands a lot of focus, a lot of respect every minute you’re on that track. So to be able to win here, I know the Germans and the spectators, everybody, have worked so hard and this week, no exceptions. I’m proud of all of the girls.”

Canadian Christine de Bruin took bronze for a second straight year. Full results are here.

Humphries, who married a former U.S. bobsledder, was released by Canada in September after filing verbal abuse and harassment claims against a coach, saying she no longer felt safe with the program. As a Canadian, Humphries won 2010 and 2014 Olympic titles, plus 2012 and 2013 World titles.

Humphries joined German Sandra Kiriasis as the only female drivers to win three world titles. She is already the only female driver with multiple Olympic titles.

German Mariama Jamanka, the reigning Olympic champion and defending world champion, finished fourth in Altenberg.

Triple U.S. Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor didn’t compete as she sits out the season due to pregnancy. Meyers Taylor and Gibbs teamed for silver in PyeongChang.

The world championships continue Sunday with the conclusion of the two-man competition. German Francesco Friedrich, eyeing his sixth straight world title, leads after the first two of four runs.

A full TV and live stream schedule is here.

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