Pearl's USA team blasts France

NETANYA, Israel — A hungry and determined American squad struck first and never trailed as Maccabi USA's Open Men's Basketball Team — coached by Tennessee's Bruce Pearl — triumphed over France 131-77 at Metrowest Hall Wednesday at the 18th World Maccabiah Games.

"We continue to shoot the ball well," Pearl said. "We made 14 three-pointers. The next two teams in pool play — Russia and Argentina — are both stronger than France. These first two games (against Mexico and France) were good starters and will help us get ready when the competition steps up.

"Our players are enjoying playing at this up-tempo pace."

The win avenged a U.S. loss to France four years ago in the 17th World Maccabiah Games. That setback forced the Americans to settle for bronze in 2005 while the French claimed silver.

"Our players certainly remembered that outcome from four years ago," Pearl said.

Todd Golden was the top scorer for the U.S. Maccabi Team Wednesday, pouring in 25 points. Once again, five Americans scored in double figures, with Dan Grunfeld adding 23 points in a solid effort. Tennessee junior forward Steven Pearl totaled nine points and five rebounds to go along with two assists.

The USA hoopsters now enjoys some time off—which includes Shabbat, the seventh day of the Jewish week and a typical day of rest in Judaism—before a Sunday showdown with Russia at 6 p.m. (11 a.m. ET).

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