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.
Myles Powell drops 30 as Big East Pan Am team knocks off Venezuela
Team USA advanced to the medal round at the Pan American Games with a hard fought 70-53 victory over Venezuela, a team considered to be one of the favorites in the tournament, at Dibos Coliseum. Myles Powell (Seton Hall) scored a game-high 30 points.
With a 2-0 mark record in Pool A, Team USA has
already clinched a spot in the medal round before playing Puerto Rico on
Friday in its final game of Pool play. Puerto Rico is also 2-0. The
game will be telecast on ESPNU at 10 p.m. ET.
“I’ve been saying that we get better every day,” said head coach Ed Cooley (Providence). “We matched their physicality. Our defense really won the game for us. We showed a lot of maturity. It was one of the most physical games I’ve ever been involved in as a coach.”
Powell scored 20 of his 30 points in the second half. For the game, he was 12-of-18 from the floor and 3-of-3 from the foul line. Geoff Groselle (Creighton) added 11 points and six rebounds. Alpha Diallo (Providence) finished with 10 points and five boards. Team USA won the rebounding battle 40-29 and held Venezuela to 17-of-61 shooting from the floor.
“We were able to limit them to one shot,” said Diallo. “We played as a team and maintained the same amount of physicality.”
Facing a Venezuela team with eight Olympians,
Team USA did not show any fear at the start and led at the end of the
first quarter 20-13. After making seven 3-pointers in Wednesday’s win
against Virgin Islands, Team USA took the ball
to the basket for layups and added five points from the line. Powell
connected on three layups, all off drives to the hoop. The Team USA
defense held Venezuela to 4-of-15 shooting from the field.
Venezuela responded with a 9-2 run to start the
second quarter and tied the game 22-22 with seven minutes left in the
quarter. Team USA regained the momentum with a 10-2 spurt to gain a
32-24 edge with 3:41 left in the half. David Duke
(Providence) got four points in the run with a twisting reverse layup
and a pair of free throws. At the halftime horn, Team USA took a 34-29
lead into the locker room.
Team USA got a little sloppy in the third quarter
with a few turnovers, but survived with some solid defense. Powell
made a couple of 10-foot baskets and Groselle hit a couple of layups. A
free throw by Tyler Wideman (Butler) gave Team
USA a 45-35 edge with 2:48 remaining in the quarter. Powell scored the
final five points of the period on a drive and a 3-ppointer to give Team
USA its biggest lead of the game 50-37.
Team USA did not score in the fourth quarter for
almost three minutes before Powell made a short jumper in the lane to
make it 52-44. That hoop ignited a 13-4 run to make the score 65-48 and
put the game away.
Powell was proud of the team’s accomplishments so
far in the Games. “The BIG EAST is the best basketball conference in
the country, but right now it’s not really about the BIG EAST. It’s
about repping for your country.”
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.).
(Via the Big East)
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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.