Canada beats US in OT to qualify for Pan Am basketball final

The Canadians benefited from their pros and found a new star tonight, edging the US 111-108 to set up a final against Brazil and guarantee the nation’s first-ever men’s basketball medal.

Andrew Nicholson turned in 31 points, Anthony Bennett added 18 which is one point per year young Jamal Murray has been alive. The Kentucky commit scored 22, « He played phenomenal down the stretch, » admired Nicholson, a forward for Orlando, « He’s going to be an outstanding player. »

Jamal Murray during semifinal action against the USA at TO2015.

Jamal Murray during semifinal action against the USA at TO2015.

Oh, and of Murray’s 22 points, none topped the three-ball he drained with 55-seconds left in overtime. It gave Canada a four-point cushion. More crazy? Murray was only OK a lot of the way. He had no first half points. Then he exploded, including that massive long ball, « I just had confidence in my shot, I knew I could hit that shot, » said the Kitchener-native.

Canada will play for gold against Brazil on Saturday at 4:30 pm ET.

Here’s how it went down

The first half belonged to the home team, and they left the floor with a five-point lead at 52-47 but with some bad investments. Of those 47 US points, 13 were from the free throw line basting the Canadians with future foul trouble.

Anthony Bennett goes in for the flush during TO2015 semifinal action.

Anthony Bennett goes in for the flush during TO2015 semifinal action.

It was a slow-roast for the Americans. Halfway through the third quarter Anthony Bennett received his third foul. Canadian head coach Jay Triano took him off the court, and after one long walk for Bennett plus 36-seconds the Americans took the lead.

It was a lengthy talk for Triano and the boys before the fourth quarter. The score: 80-74 for the US.

Bobby Brown led the way for the Americans with 25 points.

Bobby Brown led the way for the Americans with 25 points.

Sim Bhullar’s massive reach to block a Romelo Trimble three-point attempt was the start to a 9-2 run by the Canadians, stealing the lead back. The crowd dialed in. It went back and forth with the Americans taking control late and a 97-94 advantage.

With 50.5 seconds remaining and a three-point deficit Canada would manage the comeback, tying the score at 97. It got a touch dramatic with 7.7, wait, 5.1 seconds left. An inadvertent clock stoppage created a long wait for the final Canadian possession, which they wouldn’t use to any result.

So, five-minutes of overtime, Bennett and Nicholson both on the floor, but it was 18-year-old Jamal Murray who hit a three to make it 110-106 Canada, with 55-seconds remaining. Canada would hold on to beat the Americans 111-108.