Loss to Panama eliminates U.S. from medal round contention

Updated: July 27, 2007, 2:53 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The United States basketball team saw a 14-point second quarter lead disappear as Panama held on for a 75-67 win in the men's Pan Am Games preliminary round Thursday. The U.S. loss, coupled with Argentina's 71-69 win over Uruguay, eliminated the Americans from advancing to the medal round semifinals.

The U.S. built a 29-15 lead with eight minutes, six seconds left in the first half before Panama went on a 16-4 run that tied the game at 33 at halftime. Panama led 42-40 with 5:30 left in the third quarter before going on a 17-4 run to take a 57-44 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Vanderbilt's Shan Foster hit a 3-pointer to cap an 8-2 run to start the fourth quarter as Panama's lead was cut to 59-52. Panama's Danilo Pinnock, who starred at George Washington, then hit a deep 3-pointer and added two other 3-pointers over the next 1:20 to help Panama's lead balloon to 68-55.

Georgetown's Roy Hibbert led the U.S. with 19 points and nine rebounds. Michigan State's Drew Neitzel finished with 15 points and five rebounds while Indiana's D.J. White had 12 points and eight rebounds.

North Carolina's Wayne Ellington did not play after injuring his shoulder in the first game, a loss to Uruguay. Ellington's status is day-to-day.

"I'm proud of our guys. I think our guys are playing hard. I think we played two very good teams," coach Jay Wright said. "Obviously, I'm disappointed in the outcome, but not in our performance. I think they're giving us everything they've got and I'm proud of their effort. We still have to play a little bit better, we've got to execute a little bit better, we've got to play defense little bit better, but we've got to keep working on that."

In Thursday's other action, Brazil (2-0) defeated the U.S. Virgin Islands (0-2), 62-57 while Puerto Rico (2-0) beat Canada (0-2), 98-63.

The United States has never lost three games in a row at the Pan Am Games. The U.S. team takes on Argentina (2-0) Friday and will play the Virgin Islands Saturday. Sunday, the final day of the competition, the team will play in the fifth/sixth-place or seventh/eight-place game.