Khris Middleton free throws give Team USA 93-92 overtime win over Turkey in FIBA World Cup
Team USA just notched their second consecutive victory in the FIBA World Cup, in what turned out to be one of the best games in the early stages of this prestigious tournament. The Americans beat Turkey 93-92 in overtime, but to say it was a struggle for Team USA would be an understatement.
Milwaukee Bucks All-Star wing Khris Middleton emerged as the last-second hero for Team USA, as it was his game-deciding free throws that handed the Americans the win in overtime. The 28-year-old made Turkey pay for missing four straight free throws down the stretch that would have helped seal a major upset. Middleton finished the contest with a team-high 15 points (on 5-of-9 shooting), two 3-pointers, and two rebounds in 19 minutes of play.
Boston Celtics stud Jayson Tatum (11 points, a team-high 11 rebounds, three assists, two steals, and two blocks) also had himself a ballgame, but missed out on a chance to clinch the victory for Team USA in regulation. The 6-foot-8 wing was fouled from 3-point land with the Turks up two points with virtually no time remaining. Tatum made only two out of his three free throws, which was enough to just send the game to overtime, and unfortunately the youngster sprained his ankle in the extra period.
As for Turkey, Bucks veteran big man Ersan Ilyasova turned back the clock to lead his team with a game-high 23 points (on 9-of-19 shooting), one 3-pointer, 14 rebounds, an assist, a steal, and a block in 38 minutes of action. However, Ilyasova missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer in overtime.
Team USA is now riding solo at the top spot in Group E with two wins out of two, which is good enough to get them into the second round. Nevertheless, they were exposed a bit by Turkey, and they will definitely need to work on some issues if they hope to go all the way in this tournament.