Pan-Am team splits pair of one-point victories

The USA men's basketball team opened the 2003 Pan-American Games in the Dominican Republic, in exciting fashion. On Saturday night the team, led by MSU coach Tom Izzo, defeated Argentina 80-79, only to lose to Puerto Rico 86-85 on the next night.

Against Argentina, Team USA held a 61-60 lead in the beginning of the fourth quarter, but that was quickly evaporated as Argentina pulled to 71-63 lead with 5:37 remaining.

Kentucky's Chuck Hayes, started the comeback with a pair of jumpers and Gonzaga's Blake Stepp launched in a deep three-pointer to give Team USA the lead for good. Hayes led all USA scorers with 17 points. MSU's Chris Hill played just three minutes in the opening contest.

Against Puerto Rico, Seton Hall's Andre Barrett missed a jumper as time expired, giving Team USA the loss. Team USA must defeat Uruguay on Monday to have any hopes of playing for a medal.

Team USA trailed by as many as nine with 6:30 remaining in the game and trimmed to one, 83-82, in a three and a half minute stretch. Barrett led all USA scorers with 16 points. Hill played just one minute.

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