RECIFE, Brazil — USA Basketball didn’t head home from AmeriCup empty-handed.
Gary Clark scored 18 points, and the U.S. rallied in the final minutes to top Canada 84-80 in the bronze-medal game on Sunday.
The Americans went on a 26-10 run over a 7-minute stretch of the final quarter, turning what was a 63-56 deficit into an 82-73 lead.
“I’m happy for our guys,” U.S. coach Alex Jensen said. “It was an honor to be a part of it.”
It was the ninth time in 11 appearances at AmeriCup — the championship of the FIBA Americas region — that the U.S. captured a medal. The Americans have won gold seven times, silver once and now have a bronze.
Canada was seeking a seventh medal in 19 appearances at the event.
Jodie Meeks — an NBA champion who spent 10 years in the league with seven teams — scored what may have been his final three points as a competitive player during that late run by the U.S. Meeks’ only points on the day came when he got fouled on a 3-point try and made all three of the free throws with 3:31 left, pulling the U.S. into a 71-71 tie.
Meeks is planning to retire and begin a coaching career. His teammates sent him out with a medal, and Clark’s layup with 1:43 left put the Americans on top for good.
“It’s definitely been an experience for our guys,” Clark said. “The weather’s nice. I think most guys were upset that they couldn’t get in the ocean because of sharks … but we’ve enjoyed our time here.”
Abu Kigab scored 18 points for Canada, while Kadre Gray and Jahvon Henry-Blair had 15 apiece.
Going home medalists, even though it wasn’t a higher-profile event like the Olympics or World Cup, wasn’t insignificant to the group of G League and internationally based players that the U.S. assembled for this trip.
“From Day 1, I felt it,” Jensen said. “You’re part of a special group.”