Cold Shooting Ends USA Hopes For Gold Medal at Pan Am Games

Aug. 6, 2003

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (August 5, 2003) - Cold shooting relegated the USA Basketball Mens Pan American Games Team (2-2) to the bronze medal game as Brazil (4-0) went on a 13-0 tear at the end of the semfinals game to score a 92-80 victory in the J.P. Duarte Center in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic Tuesday night.

The win pits Brazil against the Dominican Republic, which defeated Puerto Rico 79-65. The USA will face Puerto Rico for the bronze medal at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday.

'I think we played well for three and a half quarters, but we didn't close it out,' said head coach Tom Izzo (Michigan State University). 'We got what we deserved, and they got what they deserved. Turnovers down the stretch killed us.'

Leading 43-37 at halftime, the USA extended the margin to 11 with a 10-5 run to open the third quarter. The run was capped with a Chuck Hayes (Kentucky/Modesto, Calif.) transition layup that began on his own steal to make the score 53-42 with 6:34 showing. Shaking off its dismal first half 3-point shooting (1-of-13, .077 percent), Brazil answered the USA's run by finding ways to get to the free throw line and outscoring the U.S. 22-10 to close out the quarter. Brazil earned its first lead of the night on a buzzer-beating layup for a 64-63 lead as the third quarter expired. Brazil was aided in its run by a pair of treys and by sinking all eight of its free throw attempts.

The USA took the lead back on a three-point play by Brandon Mouton (Texas/Lafayette, La.) for a66-64 lead with 9:46 to go in the game. The teams traded scoring trips during the next five minutes as the USA continued to solve Brazil's full-court press for close-in looks in transition. But the press was sapping the energy from the USA team members, and they held their last advantage when Hayes tipped in a miss by Arthur Johnson (Missouri/Detroit, Mich.) for a 76-74 lead with 4:18 remaining.

From there, the USA went cold and Brazil went on a tear, reeling off 13 unanswered points, eight of which came from the free throw line. Blake Stepp (Gonzaga/Eugene, Ore.) hit a free throw with 30 seconds to go and Josh Childress (Stanford/Los Angeles, Calif.) sank a 3-pointer with six seconds showing, but by then all that was left was deciding the final margin.

'We didn't execute,' said Emeka Okafor (Connecticut/Houston, Texas), who led the USA with 18 points. 'They made it very difficult down the stretch and we did not respond. Its tough, because we played so well, but you can have one bad quarter and lose the game. Now we have to focus on bringing home a medal.'

The USA's scoring was supported by Hayes with 15 and Rickey Paulding (Missouri/Detroit, Mich.) with 11. Hayes added a game high 13 rebounds for the first USA double-double of the tournament. Andre Barrett (Seton Hall/Bronx, N.Y.) passed off for a game high five assists. Marcelo Machado led all scorers with 22 for Brazil, with Guilherme Giovannoni adding 19 and seven boards.

Forcing the Brazilians into 42.6 percent shooting for the night, including just 14.8 percent (4-27 3pt FGs) from 3-point, the Americans were done in by the foul line. The USA was whistled for 30 personal fouls which resulted in Brazil making 36-of-45 foul shots. Brazil was called for 18 fouls which saw the USA score on 11-of-13 charity tries. The USA shot 46.4 percent (32-69 FGs) overall, and 31.3 percent (5-16 3pt FGs) from 3-point. Brazil mananged just a one rebound advantage, 29-28, and the USA turned the ball over 16 times

2003 Pan American Games USA Basketball Men's Notes and QuotesUSA vs. Brazil, August 5, 2003

USA head coach Tom Izzo (Michigan State University)On the preparation for the Pan Am Games:'Maybe we should scrimmage more so we can play as a team early, but my staff did an incredible job getting us ready and for most of the game we did what we wanted to do. With a little more effort and a few breaks, we could have won the game.'

'We did a great job early playing off of Da Silva and Varejao. We shot better from the free throw line than we did all week and held them to a low shooting percentage. It was just too many turnovers at the wrong times and mental mistakes. Even when we broke their press, we didn't attack. I'd like to leave here with a medal so we can bring something back for our country. I know we will meet the challenge.'

Chuck Hayes (Kentucky)'I give Brazil credit. They never let the lead shatter their game. What it boils down to is whoever executes best wins.'

Rickey Paulding (Missouri)'Playing at the Pan Ams is a style of game we've never seen before. If I were to describe it to somebody at home, I'd tell them they'd never seen play so physical. It's a battle every single night. They put on a lot of pressure in the fourth quarter, and we missed a couple of easy shots. I don't think we played bad at all. They just executed when it mattered most.'

Andre Barrett (Seton Hall)'They put on pressure at the end and all we needed to do was to get to the right spots. With a 24-second clock, everyone on the team has to get to those spots to beat the pressure. I think we need to work on that the most. Some of our guys have never played internationally. The play is much more physical, the teams like to shoot threes and the big men put it on the floor. Their big men tonight were able to create a lot of open shots by just putting the ball on the floor and dishing it out.'

USA Team Notes:

USA-Brazil HistoryTeam USA has met Brazil more than any other team and owns a 12-4 record against Brazil in the Pan Ams. The last meeting was a 96-78 win by Brazil to claim the gold medal in Winnipeg in 1999. The USA opened the series by reeling off 10 consecutive wins before the first loss, a 120-115 shootout for the gold medal in Indianapolis in 1987. That marked the first time that the USA had lost a goal medal game in the Pan American Games. The USA and Brazil have met in the gold medal game four times, with the USA holding a 3-1 edge in those games. The USA is now 82-10 in Pan American play, with four of those losses to Brazil, more than any other Pan Am country.

Medal FactsThe USA has played for the bronze medal only once in Pan Am Games history, in 1991 in Havana, Cuba, when it played the host country and won 93-74. The only time the USA has not brought a medal home was in 1971, when it failed to reach the medal round.

Packed HouseIf the USA faces the homestanding Dominican Republic in the bronze medal game, it can count on a packed house in every sense of the word. The prior two nights have seen the J.P. Duarte Center filled to overflowing, with every square inch of available space filled with raucous fans. Aisles were virtually impassable, and the crowd vocal, responding to their cheerleader, a native dressed in a head scarf and colorful matador garb and leading chants of Ole!

Against the HostsThe USA has played the Pan American Games host country 10 times and has won eight of those. The two losses were the most recent both against Argentina in Mar del Plata in 1995, when the Americans lost 68-67 in pool play and 90-86 in the gold medal game. In games where the home team was the foe and a medal was on the line, the USA is 4-1.

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