Team USA once again got off to a bad start in their game Thursday night at the 2011 Pan-American Games, at one time trailing by 17 points, but head coach Nate Tibbetts made the right adjustments for the third quarter in order to defeat Brazil. Blake Ahearn spurred the second half comeback, scoring 21 points as Team USA picked up the 88-77 victory.
Ahearn made three of his five attempts from beyond the arc and predictably made all six of his free-throw attempts. His greatest feat may have been breaking up a potential fracas late in the game, jumping into a mess of bodies before doing his best impression of legendary bar bouncer James Dalton (actual video here).
Tibbetts went with the same starting lineup he did in Game 1 versus the Dominican Republic, but the rotation was changed quite a bit in the second half as Ahearn and Justin Dentmon joined starter Jerome Dyson to form a three-man backcourt. As a result, there was much better ball movement, allowing the offense to flow quite a bit better as players were able to get into the flow of the game.
Aside from Ahearn, Dentmon scored 16 points to go with six assists while Donald Sloan and Jerome Dyson rounded out USA's double-digit scorers with 10 points apiece. Duke grad Lance Thomas followed up Wednesday's big game with eight points and 12 rebounds while Marcus Lewis was once again solid with eight points and nine rebounds.
It wasn't the prettiest game to watch as both team's were extremely sloppy early, but that's to be expected. The United States team is made up of players signed to the D-League -- and have played together for just two weeks -- while Brazil only has two rotational players present from their entry at the FIBA Americas tournament.
More thoughts will be up Friday morning. For now, feel free to take a gander at the box score. The win should guarantee USA a spot in the medal round, though they play winless Uruguay Friday evening before the medal round begins on Saturday.