Canada bagged their first-ever FIBA Basketball World Cup podium finish at the expense of undermanned United States 127-118 in overtime in a riveting, record-setting bronze medal game on Sunday in Manila.
Hot-shooting Dillon Brooks, who will play for the Houston Rockets next season, powered the Canadians with his tournament-high 39 points, hitting seven of eight 3-pointers, along with four rebounds and five assists. It was the most points scored for a player in a medal-winning game in tournament history.
Brooks earned MVP chants from the crowd with his all-time performance, a far cry from the loudest of boos in Canada’s previous games.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Canada’s leading scorer, rebounder and passer, finished with 31 points, six rebounds and 12 assists. “It was fun trying to take what the defense gives me,” he told reporters.
Team USA’s NBA Rookie of the Year Paolo Banchero, Defensive Player of the Year Jaren Jackson Jr, and forward Brandon Ingram were sidelined due to illness.
Team USA’s leading scorer, Anthony Edwards of the Minnesota Timberwolves, recorded 24 points, five rebounds and three assists. Fan favourite Austin Reaves sparked U.S. off the bench with 23 points, while three more U.S. players scored in double-digits.
Canada capitalised on a characteristically lethargic U.S. start to take a 34-21 lead in the first quarter, before Team USA stormed back in a see-saw second quarter to trim their deficit to 56-58 by halftime.
Brooklyn Nets forward Mikal Bridges sent the game into overtime by rebounding his own missed free throw and then hitting a corner three with 0.6 seconds to go. Canada’s Kelly Olynyk missed potentially game-winning three at the buzzer, ending the fourth quarter at 111 each.
Team USA, previously unbeaten in their four bronze medal matches, recorded the most points they have conceded in a World Cup game.
Canada achieved multiple milestones in the tournament, including semi-final debut, while qualifying for the Summer Olympics for the first time since 2000.
Despite the defeat, the United States finished better than their seventh spot in 2019, their worst-ever major international tournament result. The U.S. have won the tournament a record five times.