SAPPORO, Japan — As his team left the locker room at halftime trailing Italy by nine points, Dwyane Wade broke into song.
"I was walking out and everybody was quiet, and I just started singing something that came to mind," Wade said Wednesday night. "I just came off the NBA Finals, where my team had been down a lot [two games to none]. I don't ever worry about being down. And I don't want my teammates to worry about it either."
Afterward, Wade couldn't remember what he sang. But it proved to be the right tune, with the U.S. surging back to beat Italy, 94-85, in the FIBA world championships.
The U.S. rallied from a 12-point third-quarter hole behind Carmelo Anthony, whose 35 points were the most by an American in the world championships. Kenny Anderson set the previous record of 34 in 1990.
Anthony scored 29 of his points in 19 second-half minutes, and he and Wade combined for 21 points during a pivotal 25-6 third-quarter run.
"I knew once my outside shot was going it was going to open it up for my inside driving," Anthony said.
Wade scored 26 points as the U.S. clinched Group D, meaning it will avoid Argentina or Spain, two of the tournament's powers, until the final. The U.S. will play the fourth-place team in Group C on Sunday.
*--* Date Results/Schedule Aug. 19 U.S. 111, Puerto Rico 100 Aug. 20 U.S. 121, China 90 Aug. 22 U.S. 114, Slovenia 95 Aug. 23 U.S. 94, Italy 85 Today vs. Senegal, 7:30 p.m. (2:30 a.m. PDT)