Canada defeats U.S. in overtime to claim bronze, first-ever medal at FIBA World Cup

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Dillon Brooks had 39 points in leading Canada to its first-ever medal at the FIBA Men’s Basketball World Cup with a 127-118 overtime win over the U.S. in the bronze-medal game on Sunday.

Brooks’s scoring output set a Canadian single-game scoring record for most points in a FIBA World Cup, topping Carl Ridd’s mark of 37 in 1954. 

The medal is also Canada’s first on either the World Cup or Olympic stage since 1936 when Canada earned silver at the Berlin Games.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander finished with 31 points, six rebounds and a game-high 12 assists for Canada. RJ Barrett added 23 points and seven rebounds.

Anthony Edwards led the way for the second-ranked Americans with 24 points, with Austin Reaves adding 23.

The win puts a wrap on a historic run through the tournament for the 15th-ranked Canadians. 

Canada made it to the second round of the tournament for the first time since 1998 and placed first in the group phase for the first time ever. 

Canada’s win over top-ranked defending champion Spain in the second round earned its qualification for the Paris 2024 Games, ending an Olympic drought dating back to 2000. It was also the first time since 1994 that Canada advanced to the quarterfinals.

The Canadians’ semifinal loss to sixth-ranked Serbia on Friday was their first-ever appearance in the final four.

Canada entered the fourth up 91-82 after the U.S. trimmed the lead to just two entering halftime.

After a three-point play from Kelly Olynyk that put Canada up 10, the Americans stole the momentum with a 12-0 run to take the lead with 6:23 remaining.

Both sides fought tooth and nail, with neither side taking no more than a three-point lead for most of the remainder of the frame.

But with 34 seconds left, Gilgeous-Alexander hit a go-ahead jumper putting Canada up 109-107. After a pair of free throws from Brooks put Canada up four, the U.S. struck late again.

Mikal Bridges was fouled with four seconds left and made the first attempt. But he missed the second, corralled the rebound and hit a tough fadeaway three with 0.6 seconds left.

Canada got one more possession but Olynyk hit the back of the rim on a fadeaway three-point attempt and the game went to overtime.

In the extra session, Gilgeous-Alexander put Canada ahead six with a personal 7-1 run, including a stepback three in which he dropped Bridges, who had come over to double him, to the floor.

Barrett put Canada up 124-115 with a straightaway three with 44 seconds left to seal it. The Canadians held the Americans to one field goal in the frame, a Reaves three with 22 seconds left.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 10, 2023.

Banner image via The Associated Press

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