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PAN AMERICAN GAMES

U.S. Clings to Medal Hopes

August 05, 2003|From Associated Press

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — The U.S. men's basketball team was 85 seconds from leaving the Pan American Games without a medal.

Although the Americans are not guaranteed a top-three finish, three free throws and a key defensive stop gave them a thrilling 74-72 victory over Uruguay on Monday -- and renewed hope for a gold medal.

"The guys didn't want to come down here for nothing," Arthur Johnson said after leading the U.S. squad with 17 points. "We all just buckled down and did what it takes to win the ballgame, because we knew playing the way we were playing, it would have been an empty trip for us."

The Americans trailed, 72-71, with 1 minute 25 seconds remaining. Johnson made one of two free throws with 1:07 left, and his Missouri teammate Rickey Paulding made one with 33 seconds remaining to give his team the lead.

With 16 seconds left, Stanford's Josh Childress rebounded a Uruguay miss but was tied up, and the possession arrow favored the South Americans. Alejandro Muro then had the ball near midcourt when Seton Hall's Andre Barrett grabbed it, forcing another held ball and giving the U.S. team a key turnover.

"I saw him bring the ball down and that's right at my level. I was low enough already," said Barrett, who is 5 feet 10. "All I did was tie up the ball and snatch it from him."

Paulding added another free throw, and Uruguay's final attempt missed at the buzzer.

Uruguay, led by Nicolas Mazzarino's 23 points, didn't trail until early in the fourth quarter.

Monday's win put the Americans into the medal round after three games that went down to the wire. In its previous two games, the U.S. squad beat Argentina, 80-79, and lost to Puerto Rico, 86-85. The Puerto Ricans won the group and also advanced, as did Brazil and the Dominican Republic in the other group.

The United States has medaled in men's basketball in every Pan Am Games except in 1971, when it was eliminated in group play on point differential.

In women's basketball, Jamie Carey of Texas scored 20 points and made all six of her three-point attempts to lead the U.S. to a 77-64 upset of Brazil.

The Brazilians have four former WNBA players and the Americans have all college players. The United States used a swarming, half-court defense to hold Brazil to 21-of-52 field-goal shooting and forced 21 turnovers, including three shot-clock violations.

In baseball, Jered Weaver of Long Beach State and Huston Street of Texas held the Dominican Republic, a team that features 13 former major league players, to two hits as the U.S. won, 2-0, for its 25th consecutive victory this summer.

Weaver gave up one hit in 7 1/3 innings, walking one and striking out four. Weaver extended his scoreless innings streak this summer to 40.

Stanford's Daniel Putnam had three hits and drove in the winning run.

In another game, Nicaragua's Cairo Murillo threw a no-hitter against Guatemala. He struck out four and allowed four baserunners, three on errors, in a 5-0 win.

The best shooting of the day might have been done by 16-year-old high school junior Collyn Loper of Indian Springs, Ala. She had to overcome two delays when another competitor's gun malfunctioned to win the women's trap event and earn an Olympic berth in Athens for the U.S. team.

Loper, who is blind in her right eye and shoots left-handed, went into the final round with a four-point lead, although she wasn't aware of it.

The United States stretched its lead in medals to 27-16 over Cuba. The Americans have nine gold medals, 11 silver and seven bronze. Cuba has 12 gold and four bronze.

Carly Gullickson, at 16 the youngest U.S. tennis player in Pan Am Games history, defeated Daniela Alvarez of Bolivia, 6-4, 6-4, in the first round. Joining Gullickson, the daughter of former major league pitcher Bill Gullickson, in the second round was Ansley Cargill of Atlanta.

Two more U.S. teenagers starred Monday. Chellsie Memmel, 15, of West Allis, Wis., edged 13-year-old Nastia Liukin of Plano, Texas, for the all-around women's gymnastics gold. Memmel is the first U.S. double gold winner, also getting gold with the U.S. team Saturday.

The women's water polo team, fresh from winning the world championship, got five goals each from Margie Dingeldein of Stanford and Heather Moody of San Diego State and routed Puerto Rico, 20-2. The Americans scored the first seven goals. The U.S. men beat Puerto Rico, 14-2.

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