Sat, Aug 25, 2007 - Page 18 News List

Scola helps Argentina to victory

STAR TURN Luis Scola, who after years of playing in Europe is headed to the Houston Rockets, made six out of 12 shots and added six rebounds, four assists and two steals


Luis Scola, one of the few Argentina stars playing in the Americas championship, scored 16 points to help the defending Olympic gold medalists beat Uruguay 90-69 on Thursday.

Also, the US trounced the US Virgin Islands 123-59, Puerto Rico routed Panama 108-67, and Canada beat Venezuela 80-73.

Pablo Prigioni led Argentina with 20 points, while Roman Gonzalez added 15 and keyed a strong defensive effort that helped contain Uruguay center Esteban Batista, who managed only seven points on three-of-10 shooting.

Playing its tournament opener, Argentina led by only seven at halftime. But Uruguay, which beat Panama 88-84 on Wednesday in overtime, faded in the second half.

Argentina won gold in 2004, but is trying to qualify for Beijing without the core of that team. Manu Ginobili and Fabricio Oberto, starters for the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs, plus the Chicago Bulls' Andres Nocioni and Charlotte Hornets' Walter Herrmann all decided to take the summer off.

But the Argentines still have Scola, who after years of playing in Europe is headed to the Houston Rockets after they acquired his rights from the Spurs. He made six of 12 shots and added six rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Milwaukee Bucks point guard Michael Redd came off the bench with a flurry of three-pointers to turn the game into an early rout as the US downed the US Virgin Islands.

Redd and Carmelo Anthony each scored 22 points for the Americans (2-0), who put together a dominant stretch immediately after Kobe Bryant went to the bench with his second foul less than four minutes into the game.

Amare Stoudemire and Mike Miller added 13 points apiece for the Americans, who shot 15-of-30 from three-point range and had all 12 players score.

The Americans were off yesterday before closing pool play with games today against Canada and tomorrow against Brazil.

Kevin Sheppard scored 11 points for the Virgin Islands, whose best player can't play for them. Tim Duncan started playing internationally for the US in 1996, and once that happened the St Croix native became ineligible to play for his home team. But he also wouldn't play against them, sitting out the Americans' 113-55 victory while playing for them in the 2003 Olympic qualifying tournament.

Emilio Taboada scored 14 points and Fernando Martinez had 11 for Uruguay, which were also off yesterday. Batista had nine rebounds after finishing with 26 points and 19 boards on Wednesday.

Carlos Arroyo rebounded from a dismal opening game with 16 points and eight assists to lead Puerto Rico over Panama 108-67.

Ricardo Sanchez scored 19 points and Carmelo Lee had 17 for Puerto Rico, which looked sharp the day after being upset by Mexico. Arroyo was the biggest problem in that game, missing all 10 field goal attempts and scoring four points.

Bu he helped the Puerto Ricans race to a 12-0 lead, and they turned the game into a rout in the second quarter.

Larry Ayuso finished with 13 points for Puerto Rico.

Gary Forbes scored 19 points for Panama, which played with little energy following Wednesday's overtime loss to Uruguay. Jaime Lloreda and Jamar Warren each added 13.

Center Samuel Dalembert grabbed 18 points, six in the final 2:05 for Canada's win over Venezuela.

Dalembert, who was born in Haiti and recently became a Canadian citizen, also grabbed eight rebounds and blocked five shots as the Canadians evened their record at 1-1.

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