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USA vs. VEN Game 3 2022 AmeriCup Recap

U.S. Clinches Top Spot In AmeriCup Group With 101-49 Victory

  • Author:
    Paul D. Bowker
  • Date:
    Sep 6, 2022

The U.S. has been on an offensive tear since losing its opening game in the AmeriCup tournament last Friday.

 

Even a leaky roof at Geraldão Arena in Recife, Brazil couldn’t stop the Americans.

 

The U.S., which is seeking an eighth AmeriCup gold medal, emerged as the best of Group C after finishing off the preliminary round with a 101-49 win Tuesday over Venezuela.

 

Tuesday’s game was the continuation of a game that began Sunday and was suspended at halftime due to leakage from a rainstorm that left water on the court. Ahead 48-21, the Americans responded to the delay by posting the tournament’s highest score entering Tuesday night’s final two group games. Prior to Tuesday, only host Brazil had reached 100 points.

 

 

Craig Sword scored a game-high 19 points on 7-of-8 shooting. He has missed just three shots in the last two games and scored 30 points.

 

“In my mind, we’ve just got to find a way to keep everybody going,” said Sword, a 6-foot-3 guard from Mississippi State and the NBA G League’s Capital City Go-Go who is playing on a USA Basketball team for the first time. "Once we figure each other out, the sky is the limit for us."

 

Since losing to Mexico, 73-67, and missing 22-of-30 shots from 3-point range, the U.S. has scored 189 points and hit 30 3-pointers in two games.

 

Anthony Lamb hit a game-high four 3-pointers and finished with 15 points in Tuesday’s victory.

 

“We keep talking about getting better every day, raising our level,” U.S. coach Alex Jenson said. “Anthony’s done it, the rest of the guys have done it.”

 

Frank Mason and Norris Cole each added 12 points. Cole also added a game-high six assists.

 

Stephen Zimmerman pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds as the U.S. destroyed previously unbeaten Venezuela on the boards, 45-27.

 

The U.S., Venezuela and Mexico each finished with 2-1 records in group play, but the top spot went to the U.S. on the tiebreaking procedure based on point differential. The U.S. ended up with the most points in group play entering Tuesday night’s final two games, with 256, and a point differential of 76 outpaced Mexico by 71.

 

The quarterfinal round is Thursday, followed by the semifinals Saturday and medal round Sunday.

 

Venezuela scored the first five points when play resumed Tuesday, but the U.S. quickly powered up its fast-break and 3-point offense to build on its lead. Mason hit a 3-pointer to put the U.S. up 51-26 and the scoring highlights after that included Zylan Cheatham going in for a slam and a 37-point advantage in the third quarter following a defensive stop.

 

“I was happy with our guys,” Jenson said. “It’s hard, I think, to play one half of a game and then come back and play the other half, especially in the first half because we played so well.”

 

“It was definitely different, definitely a first for me,” Lamb said. “Having a game (Sunday) against Panama, having back-to-back-back days, just kept us locked in. Just knowing that we’ll get the day off tomorrow helped our mindset.”

 

Tuesday’s fast pace followed up Sunday’s dominating start, when the U.S. scored 11 consecutive points early in the opening quarter to take an 11-2 lead. Sword scored seven points in that run, including one drive to the basket when he split two Venezuela defenders.

 

Defensively, the U.S. shut down Venezuela from the start. Jose Astanio, who scored a game-high 17 points in both of Panama’s wins earlier in the tournament, didn’t get a shot off in the first half Sunday. He ended the game with 7 points.

 

Patrick McCaw of the U.S. had a game-high five steals, which tied the USA single game AmeriCup record, and Will Davis had a game-high two blocked shots.

Paul D Bowker is a freelance contributor to USAB.com on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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