The Australian Boomers went within a free throw on Friday night of earning a berth in the basketball World Cup gold-medal game, now they must pick themselves up for tomorrow's bronze-medal showdown.
The Boomers took a veteran Spanish team to double overtime but in the second extra session Spain took their chances to earn a 95-88 win.
Spain, who broke Australian hearts with a one-point win in the Rio Olympics bronze-medal play-off, will play France or Argentina Sunday night's championship game. The loser of France-Argentina will clash with the Boomers for bronze.
NBA championship centre Marc Gasol was immense for Spain, with 29 of his 33 points coming after half-time while Ricky Rubio (19 points, 12 assists) was great early and Sergio Llull stoic in the second overtime with two threes which effectively ended the game.
Australia's players have felt heartbreak before but this one will hurt in a different way as it was a late free-throw miss and far too many turnovers (22) that cost them.
Patty Mills has been a superstar for the Boomers throughout this tournament and he was again on this night with 34 points but he erred at the moment he could have won the game.
With just four seconds left in the fourth quarter, Mills earned two free throws with Australia trailing by a point. Mills made the first to tie the game but saw his second rim out, forcing overtime.
The first overtime was tight and the Boomers again gave themselves a chance. Mills made two free throws to give them the lead but Matthew Dellavedova had to foul Gasol with four seconds left.
He made both free throws to tie the game and Dellavedova's running shot on the buzzer missed, forcing the second overtime.
From that point the Spanish simply held their nerve and made sure Gasol or Llull were taking their shots. It has proved a deadly formula throughout the tournament.
What also needs highlighting is the way the Spanish went to a box-and-one defence on Mills in overtime with one defender chasing Mills and the rest guarding the key.
It was a risk but no one else could punish them for it.
Perth Wildcats forward Nick Kay had a career night with 16 points and 11 rebounds but he, too, will rue a couple of late misses. But all the Boomers could highlight turnovers or misses from this game.
- The Age/SMH