U.S. 3x3 Men’s Team Advances Into Semifinals at Pan American Games
The 2019 U.S. Pan American Games 3x3 Men’s Basketball Team (2-3) fell to Puerto Rico (5-0) 20-18 and Argentina (1-4) 22-20, but rebounded to earn a 21-13 win over Dominican Republic (2-3) on its final day of preliminary round action on Sunday at the Coliseo Eduardo Dibos in Lima, Peru.
The USA’s close games helped it emerge from a three-way tie in the standings as the No. 3 seed and earned the squad a berth into the semifinals against Brazil (3-2) at 11:30 a.m. EDT on Monday, July 29.
The first semifinal at 11 a.m. EDT will feature No. 1 Puerto Rico and No. 4 Dominican Republic.
The semifinals winners will play in the gold medal game at 2:30 p.m. EDT, and the losers will play for bronze at 1:30 p.m. EDT. The games are available live at WatchESPN.
“It was earlier on when we first played them, so we were still getting to know each other,” Octeus said of the USA’s semifinal matchup. The USA fell to Brazil 20-19 on the first day of preliminary action on July 27. “ I think we have figured it out now.
“At the end of the day, I feel like it all comes down to us. We have to stick together. We have to play our style of basketball. We’ve watched the film. We’ve prepared.”
The USA’s 20-18 loss to Puerto Rico featured five lead changes and nine tied scores. After battling throughout the contest, Jon Octeus (Windy City Bulls/Miami, Fla.) tied up the game at 17-17 with 56.0 seconds remaining. Puerto Rico scored a two-point play and then made a free throw, however, to take a 20-17 lead.
Dominique Jones (Fort Hays State/Harlem, N.Y.) made the final basket of the game, which brought the score to its 20-18 final. Octeus had eight points, and Jones and Kareem Maddox (Princeton/Los Angeles, Calif.) each scored five.
Against Argentina in its second game of day two, the USA led from the start and was up 12-7 with 4:35 to play, but fell short, 22-20. Trailing early on, Argentina sank four 2-pointers to climb back into the matchup, and it took a 19-18 lead with 2:09 to play.
The USA scored twice to go ahead 20-19, but Argentina tied the game at 20-all and then sank a 2-pointer with five seconds left to earn the win.
While Argentina was 6-of-9 from deep (.667), the USA struggled and was just 3-of-12 (.250). Jones led the way for the U.S. with 12 points in the win.
Wrapping up the evening with a resounding victory in a must-win game, the USA topped Dominican Republic 21-13, ending the game with 1:51 remaining on the clock.
The USA was helped by its 7-of-8 shooting from the free throw line, and in fact, it was a made free throw from Maddox as he converted on a two-point play that sealed the win.
Jones scored eight points in the win, Maddox finished with five and both Sheldon Jeter (Maine Red Claws/Beaver Falls, Pa.) and Octeus added four points.
“I think we had one word, and it’s perseverance – being able to battle through the losses that we had, sticking together as a team, just kind of showing everybody that even though we didn’t play well – a lot of close games that we lost – we still had the fight in us to get it done,” Octeus said of the USA’s win over Dominican Republic.
This is the first time 3x3 basketball has been included at the Pan American Games, and the men’s and women’s tournaments feature six teams each.
Similar to the Pan American Games, 3X3 basketball will make its Olympic debut at the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The exciting and fast-paced game officially was unveiled in international competition at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games and since has become a fan favorite at FIBA 3x3 World Cup events.
3x3 is played on a half court with a 12-second shot clock and a 10 minute game clock. The first team to 21 points, or the team in the lead at the end of regulation, is the winner.