The 2019 U.S. Pan American Games 3x3 Men’s Basketball Team wrapped up its first day of competition with a 1-1 record at the 2019 Pan American Games at the Coliseo Eduardo Dibos in Lima, Peru – topping Venezuela (1-1) 21-14 before being edged out by Brazil (2-0) 20-19.
The U.S. men will complete preliminary round play on July 28 against Puerto Rico at 4 p.m., Argentina at 7 p.m. and Dominican Republic at 10:30 p.m. All times listed are EDT, and the games are available live at WatchESPN.
“We just got comfortable,” said USA guard Dominique Jones (Fort Hays State/Harlem, N.Y.) on the USA’s win over Venezuela. “We are just getting to know each other, getting a feel for the game, getting to know one another and our movements and our timing. Getting all of that stuff right is key for us.”
Jones finished with 12 points for the USA in its 21-14 win over Venezuela to start the day, including sealing the victory with a four-point play to end the game with 1:36 on the clock.
With the game tied 9-9, the USA scored twice, and then Jones sank three straight 2-pointers to put the USA up 17-9. After two scores from Venezuela, Jones was fouled on a made 2-pointer, and he sank both of his free throw attempts as Argentina was in the bonus for fouls to complete a four-point play and the USA’s 21-14 victory. Kareem Maddox (Princeton/Los Angeles, Calif.) added six points in the win.
The USA’s second matchup was a tough loss to Brazil that saw the game go down to the wire and the USA send Brazil to the free throw line nine times, which they converted for seven points.
The teams traded baskets to start the game, until Brazil sank a 2-pointer to lead 8-5 at 7:14. The USA struggled in the game from deep, making just 2-of-11 from behind the 2-point line. In fact, those two made 2-pointers almost helped the USA climb into the game late in the final minute, but time ran out on the USA comeback, and the red, white and blue fell to Brazil 20-19.
Jones had seven points, Jon Octeus (Windy City Bulls/Miami, Fla.) finished with four and Sheldon Jeter (Maine Red Claws/Beaver Falls, Pa.) added three.
“There were a lot of mistakes on our end, just a lot of turnovers and miscommunications,” Jones said when asked how the USA might improve from day one. “So, just playing harder. If we play harder and leave everything out there on the floor, it is way easier. So, even though we have a quick turnaround, just taking everything we know that stunted us today and just getting better from that.”
This year is the first time 3x3 basketball has been included at the Pan American Games, and the men’s and women’s tournaments feature six teams each.
Following the final games of the preliminary round on July 28, on July 29, the first men’s semifinal will feature the No. 1 and No. 4 placed teams at 11 a.m., and the second semifinal will include the No. 2 and No. 3 finishing teams at 11:30 a.m.
The bronze medal game is set for 1:30 p.m., and the gold medal game will be played at 2:30 p.m.
The No. 5 and No. 6 men’s teams will play for fifth place at 12:30 p.m. on July 29.
Similar to the Pan American Games, 3X3 basketball will make its Olympic debut at the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The game officially was unveiled in international competition at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games and since has become a fan favorite at FIBA 3x3 World Cup events.
3x3 is played on a half court with a 12-second shot clock and a 10 minute game clock. The first team to 21 points, or the team in the lead at the end of regulation, is the winner.