U.S. Men Lose to Argentina in Pan American Games Semifinals
The U.S. Men's Basketball Team (2-2) had no answers defensively against a veteran Argentina (4-0) squad and lost 114-75 in the Pan American Games semifinals Saturday night at Dibos Coliseum in Lima, Peru.
The U.S. will play Dominican Republic (2-2) in the bronze medal game on Sunday at 7 p.m. ET on ESPNU. Argentina well meet Puerto Rico (4-0) for the gold medal.
“Argentina showed why they are one of the best teams in the world,” said head coach Ed Cooley. “I’ve been proud of our effort in this tournament and tomorrow we have a chance to win a bronze medal against the Dominican Republic. We have to bounce back quickly and I believe we will.”
David Duke (Providence) put together a good all-around performance with a team-high 16 points, four assists and three steals.
What makes Argentina such a challenge?
“Their strength, their experience and they’ve been together for so long,” said Duke. “Scola was a longtime NBA veteran and they utilize him very well. And basically, the whole team can shoot.”
From the opening tip, Argentina was able to use its superior size and formidable length to score inside. They took a 17-10 lead with only one basket coming from 3-point range. The Americans also had some early success inside with Myles Powell (Seton Hall) and Geoff Groselle (Creighton) splitting the first eight points. But Argentina kept up the offensive pressure around the basket with an occasional kick out for an open 3-pointer. The period ended with Team USA down 29-18. Retired NBA standout and Olympian Luis Scola had six points for Argentina and would finish the game with 18 points and seven rebounds.
The second quarter started with more of the same. The U.S. struggled to keep Argentina from having its way in the lane. On the other end, the bigger opponent was waiting for Team USA to take it to the hoop. The backcourt of Powell and Duke enjoyed some offensive success, but the USA could not knock down the deficit to less than double figures. Argentina was pulling away and led 61-36 at the break.
For the first half, Cooley's squad made only 13-of-30 from the floor and did not hit a 3-pointer in six attempts.
In third quarter, Argentina increased its lead with some more inside offense out of its half-court sets mixed in with an occasional layup off a fast break. Team USA’s cold shooting continued with the squad unable to make a shot from beyond the arc until Ty-Shon Alexander (Creighton) connected on a trey with 28.6 seconds left in the period. Argentina led 91-65 going into the fourth.
Argentina hit the 100-point mark with six minutes left in the game. Duke and A.J. Reeves (Providence) were able to get loose offensively. Reeves took advantage of his playing time, scoring 12 points and grabbing six rebounds in 12 minutes.
The BIG EAST Conference is representing USA Basketball at the Pan American Games. Providence’s Ed Cooley is the team’s head coach. Kevin Willard of Seton Hall and Mike Martin of Brown are the assistant coaches.
The Pan American Games is a multi-sport event featuring teams from North, South and Central American and the Caribbean, which is organized by the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) and played every four years in the year preceding the Olympics (2019, 2023, etc.).
Player roster, profiles and additional information are located at www.bigeast.com/panam.