USA Places Fifth at Pan American Games; Low Scores 16 in Win

July 29, 2007

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - Led by Washington State Unversity's Derrick Low's 16 points, the United States captured fifth place in the men's basketball competition at the Pan American Games with a 77-74 victory over Panama in the Men's Classification 5-6 Match, Sunday.

The win was the third-straight for the USA (3-2) as it redeemed its 75-67 loss to Panama (2-3) in Thursday's Group B Play. After just over a minute of playing time in the United State's previous meeting with Panama, Low started his third-straight game and scored a team-high 16 points. His WSU teammate, Kyle Weaver, did not play in the game.

Fellow Americans Shane Foster and D.J. White added 14 points apiece, while Maarten Leunen put up 12 points.

Danilo Pinnock, who scored 23 in the first meeting, and Dionisio Gomez tied for game-high honors with 17 points apiece for Panama. Panama was able to shut down the USA's Roy Hibbert who exploded for 19 points and nine rebounds in the first meeting, holding the center to just four points Sunday.

The back-and-forth battle saw 12 lead changes and four ties. The two teams remained tied at 20 after the first period, before a 9-0 run in the middle of the second quarter boosted Panama to an 11-point, 43-32, halftime advantage.

Trailing 56-45 with just under five minutes remaining in the third quarter, the USA went on a 15-0 run, capped off by the final six points from Low, to take a 60-56 lead with 7:40 to play in the game.

Panama regained the lead at 67-66 off a three-pointer by Pinnock with three minutes to play. Low answered with a two-point bucket on the USA's next possession to give his team the one-point lead back. With 1:30 remaining in the game, Panama took the lead back, but once again, Low answered with two-straight buckets to give the United States a three-point, 74-71, advantage with 30 seconds on the clock.

A free throw by White extended the USA's lead to four points, but a quick three by Jair Jamel Peralta, cut the lead to one at 75-74 at the 11-second mark.

After a timeout by the USA, Leunen hit two-straight free throws and the United States defense held Panama in the final seconds as it went on for the 77-74 victory.

The Americans' fifth-place finish marks just the third time in 15 Pan American Games that the United States did not medal, the last time coming with a fourth-place showing in 2003. The lowest finish by the Americans came in 1971 with seventh place.Brazil captured the 2007 Gold Medal with an 86-65 victory over Puerto Rico, while Uruguay took home the bronze with a 99-93 deafeat of Argentina.

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