FIBA Americas: Day 10 – Medal games

Sep 12, 2011 by Print
Argentina champ Americas 2011b (fhoto José Jiménéz - PHOTO FIBA AMERICAS)Argentina reclaimed the gold medal at the FIBA Americas 2011 tournament by stopping defending champ Brazil 75-80 in Sunday's title game before a home crowd in Mar de Plata. The game was decided in the last minutes, with a big three-pointer by Pablo Prigioni of Caja Laboral making it 67-62 with 1:40 to play. Free throws by Carlos Delfino and former All-Euroleague star Luis Scola sealed the outcome. Scola scored 32 points and was named tournament MVP. Delfino added 16 plus 9 rebounds and Prigioni chipped in with 10. For Brazil, Marcus Vinicius Vieira led the way with 17 points, Tiago Splitter added 12 and Rafael Hettsheimer 10. The gold medal was Argentina's second in the tournament, the first having come in 2001. In between, Argentina had finished with silver three times and bronze once, while Brazil won two gold medals.

The first quarter saw Scola score at will to give Argentina a 5-6 lead before 2 three-pointers from Delfino upped the difference to 8-14. Brazil needed a timeout that didn't help as 5 straight steals by Argentina and points by Pancho Jasen and Manu Ginobili made it 9-21 after 10 minutes. In the second quarter Brazil reacted with an 11-4 run to get withing 25-20, forcing an Argentina timeout. Rafael Freire had a good entrance for Brazil, but otherwise the defenses took over for a while. Scola returned with 6 straight points and assist to Federico Kammerichs that ended the first half with Argentina back in charge, 27-35. Vieira started the second half with a big shot, giving him 15 points after half of Brazil's total at that point. At the same time, the Brazilian defense started to click. Brazil pulled within one single point, 43-44, and stayed close through the end of three quarters, when Argentina clung to a 48-50 advantage. The final quarter started with an 8-0 run by Brazil that put them ahead, 56-50. Argentina reacted with a 0-9 run to get the lead back with 5 minutes left, 56-59. At this points, both teams exchanged baskets with mistakes as money time was getting closer. Scola was the man keeping the hosts ahead until Prigioni blasted a three to make it 62-67 with less than 2 minutes left. Scola and Delfino added 5 free throws to put the game out of reach, 63-72 with 60 second on the clock , making Argentina the champ of FIBA Americas once again!

In the third-place game, the Dominican Republic surprised Puerto Rico by a clear 103-89. Alfred Horford led the winners with 23 points and Jack Martinez added 21. For the losers, Daniel Santiago led the way with 25 points and Carlos Arroyo added 24. With great defense in the first half, the Dominican Republic was already leading 53-29 at the halftime break and despite the 39 points scored by Puerto Rico in the third quarter, there was no real threat to the final victory of the Dominicans.