The United States knew Turkey would be a challenge heading into the second game of the FIBA World Cup, and that’s exactly what they got from the Turkish National Team as they survived an overtime thriller 93-92 on Tuesday morning.
Team USA came out of the gates stiff and lethargic and couldn’t get anything to fall inside of the arc. Fortunately, second-chance points and some unusually hot three-point shooting kept the Americans in the lead despite a 15 point first half from Ersan Ilyasova.
The U.S. built a 15 point cushion in the second quarter behind a combined 19 points from Myles Turner and Khris Middleton but struggled to finish strong. They headed into the locker room up with just a five point lead to show for their efforts, 47-42.
Derrick White was largely an afterthought in the first frames of action and tallied 6 total minutes. Although the third-year guard dished out a few assists, he passed up several open shots and never looked comfortable out on the floor. The second half wasn’t much better for the young San Antonio Spur. White played fewer minutes and failed to score or make any meaningful impact on the proceedings.
Much like Derrick White, Team USA battled inconsistency in the second half and allowed the Turks to claw back into the contest. Turkey eventually pulled within two points late in regulation thanks to a big fourth quarter from Furkan Korkmaz, Cedi Osman and a clutch Scott Wilbekin triple.
While the United States held the lead for the first 39 minutes, a well-timed tip from Ilyasova put the Turkish National Team out in front 81-79 with 12.3 seconds left in the game. In a wild turn of events, Jayson Tatum drew a shooting foul behind the arc as time expired and forced overtime, knocking down two of his three attempts from the charity stripe.
Overtime was a back and forth affair, but Turkey found themselves ahead by one point with a perfect chance to seal the victory. They were awarded two free throws and possession of the ball after Joe Harris was called for a bizarre unsportsmanlike foul in an attempt to stop the clock and send Dogus Balbay to the line.
Despite little hope left for a win, Team USA got a huge break. Balbay bricked both free throws and Osman misfired both of his attempts at the line following another intentional foul by Marcus Smart.
Jayson Tatum gathered the rebound off Osman’s final free throw and found a cutting Middleton who drew a foul at the rim with 2 seconds remaining. The Milwaukee Bucks mainstay drained both of his free throws and the United States secured a ticket into the main draw.
The Americans escaped with a victory but suffered a major loss. Jayson Tatum went down on Team USA’s final offensive possession of the game and required assistance getting off the court.
Official update on Jayson Tatum: sprained left ankle, will be re-evaluated tomorrow.— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) September 3, 2019
The U.S. suit up again Thursday when they square off against Rui Hachimura and Japan. Though the game will be a formality for Team USA, the Japanese National team must come away with a win to keep their World Cup dreams alive.
That game will be broadcast Tuesday at 7:30 AM (CT) on ESPN+.