With 40 seconds left in overtime, Team USA was reeling but still tied with Israel 107-107 in overtime after giving up a late lead on missed free throw tip-in with .9 seconds left in regulation. That’s when Dakota Mathias received an outlet pass with just 3 seconds left on the shot clock and the entire tournament possibly resting on his next shot. The senior stood poised looking at the rim, pump-faked, let the defender go by him, and took a step to his side.
The crowd in Taipei let him know the result. With 37 seconds left on the clock, Team USA was up 110-107. Dakota followed that shot up with a steal on the other end with 24 seconds left that tied up the game.
But the story of the game was sophomore Carsen Edwards who absolutely took over in the second half of the game scoring a game-high 36 points while connecting on 8 of his 14 3-point attempts which ranged from ARE YOU KIDDING ME? to absolute daggers. The small shooting guard came up big again and again late, including scoring 11 straight points for Team USA in the third to turn an 8-point deficit in their favor.
In between bouts of Carsen going nova, P. J. Thompson and Vincent Edwards took turns knocking down shots and making veteran hustle plays. Vincent was everywhere in the first half before a scary foot injury seemed to temporarily dampen this entire trip. But he was back on the court to start the second half scoring 21 points, grabbing 9 rebounds, dishing 6 assists, and blocking one very late, very important lay-up attempt by Israel.
When Carsen wasn’t throwing it in from deep, it was P. J. Thompson. He made 5 of his 12 3-point attempts and made key free throws late to ice the game for Team USA. Dakota Mathias was the only other Boilermaker in double figures with 16 points.
Isaac Haas struggled to get into any rhythm on offense, only getting off four shots all game. He was double and tripled teamed the entire game and had only 8 points while going just 2 of 6 from the line.
For the first time in this tournament, Team USA was challenged. After five double-digit wins, they found themselves trailing Israel throughout the game, gaining the lead just to give it back up. They trailed for the first time at half after a last second 3 put Israel up 49-45.
Israel was only 10 of 29 from deep, but created consistent pressure with good ball movement and attacking off the pick and roll. They had seven players score in double figures, and shot 31 of 55 inside the arc. Team USA gave up a lot of easy looks at the basket. Tomer Ginat led Israel with 24 points, but Israel’s 17 turnovers and poor outside shooting was too much to overcome Purdue’s hot shooting.
But Israel never gave up. They found themselves down 3 and going to the line to shoot two with 3 seconds left after a Dakota Mathias foul at half court. They made the first free throw, before purposely missing the second hard off the rim. The ricochet was tipped up and then tipped-in with just .9 seconds left to force over time.
Team USA will now face Serbia, who defeated Finland in double-overtime 85-84, Monday morning 12:30 eastern standard time.
The turn-around will be important. This is the first game Coach Painter had to limit the rotation. Aaron Wheeler and Eden Ewing did not play for the first time, and all the starters played at least thirty minutes. (Official stats have Isaac Haas playing 29:59.)
Team USA put on a show. They’ll play to advance to the gold medal game tomorrow.