Turkey were not intimidated by the so far undefeated USA team and took an early lead in the first quarter. They maintained this lead until the closing seconds of the opening period, when three-time U.S. Paralympian’s Steve Serio and Mike Paye linked up to give their team a 20-19 advantage.
The USA found another gear in the second quarter with their full-court defensive pressure. Within three minutes they had opened up a twelve point lead, 31-19, thanks to an 11-0 run, with Matt Scott helping himself to seven quick points. Turkey then managed to halt the free scoring USA team, but struggled to convert their own chances, with only one basket being scored in a three and a half minute period midway through the quarter. Jake Williams came on and made an impact from the bench for the USA as both teams traded baskets. Turkey finished the half 27-37 down.
The USA started the second half with the same defensive pressure, which had an almost identical result upon the scoreboard as the second quarter, with a 10-0 run meaning the lead had stretched out to twenty points. Turkey were finding it difficult to get in to any sort of rhythm, but the introduction of Ibrahim Yavuz helped them outscore their opponents 9-7 in the closing minutes of the quarter, to end it 36-54 down.
The last ten minutes were a much more even affair with the USA just edging it 20-18, to take the victory 74-54, and a place in the Gold medal game for the first time since 1988, where they will face Spain.
USA’s Matt Scott said, “It feels incredible to be in the Gold medal match. We came here with a goal and we expected to be here. We knew that if we played our brand of basketball and stuck with our game plan for the entire tournament, that we would find ourselves at this very moment.
“I feel like we are prepared for Spain, we prepared well before this tournament began. We have been preparing for three and half years with the same team and with these same guys and we are very prepared. We are going to continue to run the game plan we always run and hope it comes out in our favour.”
Full match statistics click here – https://www.rio2016.com/en/paralympics/wheelchair-basketball-mens-semifinal-wb-4