Fri, Aug 24, 2007 - Page 23 News List

Anthony helps US rout Venezuela in Las Vegas opener

AMERICAS BASKETBALL Mexico downed Puerto Rico 100-89, Uruguay overcame Panama 88-84 in overtime, and Brazil held off Canada 75-67

AP , LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

The US' Kobe Bryant goes after a loose ball during a FIBA Americas championship basketball game against Venezuela in Las Vegas on Wednesday.

PHOTO: AP

Carmelo Anthony scored 17 points, Kobe Bryant added 14, and the US rolled to a 112-69 victory over Venezuela on Wednesday in its opening game of the Americas basketball championship.

Michael Redd also had 17 points, Amare Stoudemire scored 16 and Dwight Howard 12 for the US, who improved to 27-0 in the regional Olympic qualifier. The US was to face the US Virgin Islands in the final game yesterday.

Also, Mexico downed Puerto Rico 100-89, Uruguay overcame Panama 88-84 in overtime, and Brazil held off Canada 75-67.

Bryant was making his international debut, while Anthony was the leading US scorer last year at the world championships.

Greivis Vasquez scored 12 points for Venezuela, which was to face Canada yesterday.

Earlier, Victor Mariscal scored 30 points, 22 in the first half to lead Mexico over Puerto Rico.

With a strong defensive effort that held Puerto Rico star Carlos Arroyo, who plays for the Orlando Magic, without a field goal, Mexico pulled away after the Puerto Ricans rallied from a 12-point halftime deficit to grab a one-point lead early in the fourth quarter.

Puerto Rico committed 27 turnovers, 15 in the first half. That helped Mexico outscore the Puerto Ricans 13-5 in the final 5 minutes of the second quarter to build a 57-45 halftime lead.

Rick Apodaca had 15 points, and Reyes added 14 for Puerto Rico, which has struggled since upsetting the US in the 2004 Olympics.

Esteban Batista scored 26 points, including the basket that forced overtime with under two seconds left in regulation, for Uruguay to overcome Panama 88-84.

Batista's basket with 1:54 left in overtime gave Uruguay the lead for good at 81-79. He also grabbed 19 rebounds.

Nicolas Mazzarino added 25 points for Uruguay, which erased a 15-point deficit thanks to woeful Panama shooting. Panama missed 16 of 19 3-pointers and was 17-of-36 at the foul line.

Jaime Lloreda scored 21 points, but Panama couldn't hold on after he fouled out with a little more than 5 minutes remaining in regulation. Danilo Pinnock had 16 points.

Uruguay tied it at 75 with 1.8 seconds left in regulation on Batista's drive. Panama threw away the inbounds pass, giving Uruguay a chance for the win, but Batista was just short after catching a lob pass.

Panama led by 15 points in the first half and was ahead 45-34 at halftime behind Lloreda, who had 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting. But Uruguay dominated the third quarter, outscoring Panama 24-11 to take a 58-56 lead into the fourth.

Uruguay faces reigning Olympic gold medalist Argentina on Thursday in another Group A matchup. Panama will play Puerto Rico.

Leandro Barbosa scored 30 points to lead Brazil over Canada.

Barbosa, the NBA's top sixth man last season, helped Brazil finally shake free by hitting two free throws and adding a floater, pushing the lead to 69-62 with 2:26 left.

Brazil had an early 13-point lead after a 17-0 run, but Canada fought back late in the second quarter and the game remained close the rest of the way.

Tiago Splitter, picked by NBA champion San Antonio in the draft, added 12 points and nine rebounds.

Juan Mendez scored 18 points and Carl English had 12 for Canada. Philadelphia 76ers center Samuel Dalembert, who recently became a Canadian citizen, added 10 points and 10 rebounds.

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