Mexico surprises US in AmeriCup basketball opener, 73-67

RECIFE, Brazil (AP) — Paul Stoll had 15 points and nine assists, and Mexico defeated the U.S. 73-67 on Friday in the opening game of Group C play for both teams at the FIBA AmeriCup.

Fabian James added 13 points and 10 rebounds for Mexico.

Jeremy Pargo led the U.S. with 14 points. Norris Cole scored 11 and Gary Clark grabbed 12 rebounds for the Americans.

Both teams shot 39%. But the U.S. committed 18 turnovers to Mexico’s 13, and was whistled for 22 fouls to Mexico’s 15.

The loss doesn’t knock the U.S. out of contention, though certainly puts the pressure on the Americans going into their final two games in group stage.

There are 12 teams at AmeriCup, broken into three groups of four. The top two teams from each group are guaranteed berths in the quarterfinals, as well as two of the three third-place teams.

That means the U.S. would still likely reach the quarterfinals with wins in its two remaining group games, and would even have a chance by going 1-1 in those contests.

The U.S. is using a roster composed of players who were most recently on either G League teams or international clubs.

The AmeriCup event is separate from the ongoing qualifying for next year’s Basketball World Cup — which serves as a primary path for teams to earn a spot in the field for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

VENEZUELA 72, PANAMA 58

In the other Group C opener on Friday, Venezuela outscored Panama 16-2 in the final 8:38 to pull away from what was a fourth-quarter tie.

Jose Ascanio led Venezuela with 17 points. Windi Graterol scored 13 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, Yohanner Sifontes scored 12 and Jose Materan added 10 points.

Trevor Gaskins had a game-high 20 points for Panama, which got 15 from Eric Romero.

GROUP A

COLOMBIA 70, URUGUAY 64

Juan Tello and Jaime Echenique each scored 17 points, and Colombia used a 16-0 run over an 8-minute stretch of the fourth quarter to pull away from Uruguay.

Romario Roque added 14 for Colombia.

Uruguay led 59-50 with 9 minutes remaining, before everything went wrong. Uruguay went 0 for 8 from the field with six turnovers during that big Colombia run.

Agustin Ubal led all scorers with 27 for Uruguay on 8-for-15 shooting. But his teammates combined to shoot only 14 for 41 from the floor (34%).

BRAZIL 72, CANADA 63

Brazil used a 10-0 run in the fourth quarter to take the lead for good over Canada.

Yago Santos had 13 points for Brazil, which got 11 from Leonardo Meindl and 10 from George De Paula. Dalano Banton scored 20 for Canada, with Trae Bell-Haynes adding 12 and Kalif Young finishing with 11.

SATURDAY’S SCHEDULE

In Group A, Canada plays Uruguay and Colombia faces Brazil. In Group B, the Dominican Republic meets the Virgin Islands and Argentina faces Puerto Rico.

Group C has Saturday off. On Sunday, Panama plays Mexico and the U.S. meets Venezuela.

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