MANILA (AP) — Mikal Bridges pulled off a miracle to force overtime. But the agonizing basket wasn’t enough to prevent the United States from returning home from the Basketball World Cup empty-handed, and after 87 years of waiting, Canada has returned to the podium at a major tournament.
Dillon Brooks scored 39 points, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander added 31 points and 12 assists and Canada won its first major championship medal since 1936 after defeating the United States 127-118 in the third-place game in Manila on Sunday.
The USA left without any medals for the second year in a row. It was only the seventh of 38 appearances at the Olympic Games or World Championships in which the American team did not win a medal.
“The United States hasn’t won the World Cup since 2014,” American coach Steve Kerr said. “It’s very difficult. These teams at the FIBA level are very good, they are well trained, they have continuity and they have been playing together for a long time. This is difficult, it has been difficult.”
The Americans were favorites to win the title and lost three of their last four games.
They left frustrated, angry and disappointed.
RJ Barrett added 23 points for Canada (6-2), which improved to 2-21 in head-to-head games against the United States at major FIBA events. The only win at the FIBA level in a tournament in America in 2005 without NBA players. The call-up for this World Cup was full: Canada called up seven from the NBA and the twelve from the United States compete in the league.
But three of the Americans – Brandon Ingram, Paolo Banchero and Jaren Jackson Jr. – missed Sunday’s game due to illness. Anthony Edwards led the United States (5-3) with 24 points. Austin Reaves scored 23 and Bridges added 19.
Bridges shined with a few free throws in the final seconds of regulation time. He scored the first goal, intentionally missed the second, and returned the rebound into the right corner. Bridges turned and shot from behind the three-point line to tie the score, 111-111.
Kelly Olynyk almost equalized for Canada with a long-range shot on the last play of the game.
“This team was incredible, something special,” said the Canadians’ coach, Spaniard Jordi Fernández. “It’s the start of something special that will last a long time.”