Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Diallo, Powell, Samuels lead Big East team to win in Pan Am Games
Providence’s Alpha Diallo, Seton Hall’s Myles Powell and Villanova’s Jermaine Samuels combined for 55 points as Team USA blew out the Virgin Islands Wednesday in their Pan American Games debut.
Diallo went for 20 points, Powell 19 and Samuels 16 as the Big East won 119-84 over the Virgin Islands Wednesday at Dibos Coliseum. Team USA shot 52 percent from the field and made 17-of-34 from deep.
Team USA will play highly-regarded Venezuela Thursday at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN3.
“I thought our depth was an important factor today along with our 3-point shooting,” said head coach Ed Cooley. “We got contributions from everyone. We have to guard the ball a little better moving forward, but today was a good day for us.”
The game could not have started any better for Team USA. Diallo took a pass from Collin Gillespie (Villanova) on the first possession of the game and hit a 3-pointer. The next time down the floor, Geoff Groselle (Creighton) made a couple of free throws. Then, Gillespie made it 8-0 with another trey. The defense forced two shot clock violations on the first two Virgin Islands possessions and Diallo blocked a shot on the third.
Team USA made seven 3-pointers in the opening period that ended with a 39-23 lead.
The BIG EAST group went to work inside in the
second quarter with Diallo scoring a pair of baskets early in the
stanza. Virgin Islands was able to cut into the advantage temporarily
as the Team USA white-hot shooting cooled down, but
a Powell 3-pointer in the final minute sent the his team into the
locker room with a 56-43 edge. Team USA made 57 percent from the field
in the first half.
“We are able to do a lot of switching and I think
that disrupted them,” said Diallo. “We made a significant number of
threes and that provided a nice cushion for us.”
The BIG EAST Conference is representing USA Basketball at the Pan American Games. 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.).
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.