Scola, Delfino pace Argentina's comeback; Canada, Panama victorious

Updated: August 25, 2007, 12:05 AM ET
Associated Press

LAS VEGAS -- Luis Scola had 22 points and 11 rebounds to lead Argentina, which trailed by 14 points in the first half, to an 87-75 victory over Puerto Rico on Friday night in the opening round of the FIBA Americas tournament.

Scola, who has signed with the Houston Rockets, was most of the offense early for Argentina (2-0), which fell behind 31-17 30 seconds into the second quarter. Scola scored the first five points in a 14-2 run that got Argentina within 35-33 with 1:31 left.

Carlos Delfino, who plays for the Toronto Raptors, added 15 points for Argentina, which was 20-for-28 from the free throw line while Puerto Rico was 14-for-16.

Larry Ayuso had 22 points for Puerto Rico (1-2), while Carlos Arroyo of the Orlando Magic added 20.

John Peter Ramos, Puerto Rico's 7-foot-2 center who played briefly for the Washington Wizards in 2004-05, had eight points and 12 rebounds, but he fouled out with 9:10 to play on a charging call. He injured his left leg on the play and had to be helped to the bench. There was no immediate update on his condition.

Scola made two free throws with 4:11 left that gave Argentina its first lead, 52-51. Antonio Porta followed with a driving basket to cap a 9-0 run. Argentina went on to lead by as many as 15 points, the last time at 85-70 on a 3 by Delfino with 25 seconds left.

In other action on Friday:

Canada 93, Virgin Islands 83

Samuel Dalembert had 15 points, eight rebounds and five blocked shots to lead Canada to a victory over the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Dalembert, the 6-foot-11 center for the Philadelphia 76ers who became a Canadian citizen last month, was helped inside by 6-7 Juan Mendez, who played at Niagara and had 22 points and seven rebounds. Canada (2-1) shot 63 percent from the field (20-of-32) in taking a 53-40 halftime lead.

Levon Kendall, a 6-10 forward who played at Pittsburgh, scored the first six points of a 14-2 run that gave Canada an 82-64 lead with 8:14 to play.

The Virgin Islands (0-2), which lost 123-59 to the United States in its opener, had one last run, outscoring Canada 13-2 to get within 86-79 with 3:24 to go. But Carl English, who played on UNLV's Thomas & Mack Center court several times during his college career at Hawaii, hit a 3 with 2:46 left to break a 4:04 scoring drought by Canada and give it an 89-79 lead.

Dalembert finished 5-for-8 from the field as did English, who had 15 points. Canada shot 52 percent for the game (33-for-64) and outrebounded the Virgin Islands 39-28. Jermaine Anderson had four points and 12 assists for Canada, which had assists on all but nine of its 33 field goals.

Panama 95, Mexico 90

Danilo Pinnock scored 30 points to lead Panama to a win over Mexico for its first victory of the FIBA Americas tournament.

Pinnock, who played at George Washington, had 21 points in the first half when Panama (1-2) took a 54-47 lead. His last three points were free throws in final 2:25 that helped hold off a closing run by Mexico (1-1), which trailed 80-72 early in the fourth quarter.

Romel Beck hit a 3-pointer with 2:49 to play that made it 90-86. Pinnock made two free throws with 2:25 left to get Panama's lead back to six. After Gustavo Ayon and Beck brought Mexico within 92-90 with a minute left, Pinnock made one of two free throws with 17 seconds left for a three-point lead.

After two fouls by Panama kept Mexico from taking a 3-point attempt, Beck missed a jumper from the right corner to tie. Jaime Lloreda made two free throws with 2.2 seconds left for the final margin.

Lloreda, who played at LSU, had 19 points for Panama, while Antonio Garcia had five points and 13 rebounds.

Beck had 28 points to lead Mexico, which is coached by Nolan Richardson, who won the NCAA championship at Arkansas in 1994.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press