Team USA Wakes Up In Time to Top Turkey
- Updated: September 1, 2014
BILBAO, Spain — If Team USA thought they were going to walkover the competition in the FIBA World Cup, they may look back on a win over Turkey ad the moment they found out differently. One night after crushing Finland by 59 the Americans couldn’t take control against Turkey until early in the fourth quarter after compiling a 17-1 run. Team USA was down at the half 40-35 and Turkey led by six early in the third before Team USA woke up and wound up with a 98-77 win.
The U.S. beat Turkey 81-64 four years ago to win gold, and though the Turks have eight players remaining from that team, they no longer have their best player, Hedo Turkoglu, or fellow NBA veteran Ersan Ilyasova.
“I guess we felt like last night’s game was pretty easy and tonight was going to be the same way, but Turkey came out and they gave us their punch from the beginning,” forward James Harden said. “We took it and we were sluggish. That second half we played a lot better.”
Harden added 14 points for the U.S. and Kyrie Irving added 13, playing extended minutes in the second half while struggling Derrick Rose sat.
The Americans are off Monday before continuing pool play Tuesday against winless New Zealand.