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Edwards’ second half offensive display lifts Team USA past Montenegro

Team USA survived a first half scare against Montenegro, escaping with a win to start off the second round group phase.

With a second half push, the men’s national team beat Montenegro, 85-73, Friday, Sept. 1 from the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila. The win goes down in the first game in Group J as part of the second round group phase.

As of current, the U.S. lead the group with a 4-0 overall record followed by Lithuania with a 3-0 record. Lithuania will play Greece next to potentially set up a matchup of undefeated teams to close the second round.

Team USA and Lithuania will play Sunday, Sept. 3 with tipoff scheduled for 5:40 a.m.

It wasn’t until late in regulation that the men’s national team built its largest lead of the game at 10 points.

Guard Anthony Edwards drilled a dagger three-pointer to go up seven. Moments after, he came up with the steal on defense before punctuating the highlight reel play with a slam dunk.

Edwards scored all team-high 17 of his points in the second half beginning with 10 points in the third quarter.

On the defensive end, Edwards was one of five players to record two or more steals during the win led by three from reserve guard Austin Reaves. As a team, the Americans came way with 14 steals while forcing Montenegro into 22 total turnovers.

Despite getting the win, Team USA had to endure a first-time situation during this world cup run as it trailed at halftime for the first time. In the first half, the team was carried by its bench as the second-unit was responsible for 14 of the team’s first 26 points.

Backup guard Tyrese Haliburton got it going early in the second quarter with an alley-oop to fellow backup Paolo Banchero. In his first five minutes on the court, Haliburton had compiled five points and three assists.

Near the end of the third quarter, Haliburton would torch Montenegro on a three-point jumper followed by a turnaround jumpshot plus the foul.

Haliburton finished with 10 points and a game-high six assists while Reaves added 12 off-the-bench for the group.

Forwards Jaren Jackson Jr. and Mikal Bridges were the final two players in double-figures with 11 and 10 points respectively.


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