Pearls are going for the gold

NETANYA, Israel — Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl has Maccabi USA's Open Men's Basketball Team playing for a gold medal.

The American squad earned the opportunity to play for top honors at the 18th World Maccabiah Games by beating Canada 123-76 Tuesday at Metrowest Hall.

Dane DiLiegro scored 20 points to lead the Americans Tuesday, while Bryan Cohen added 17. Tennessee junior Steven Pearl totaled nine points, six rebounds and a pair of assists.

"We played very well offensively against Canada," Bruce Pearl said. "We shot 50 percent from 3-point range and ran well on the break. Playing for the gold medal has always been the goal. I'm proud of our guys."

The U.S. Maccabi Team faces the winner of Tuesday's game between Israel and Argentina Wednesday at 7 p.m. (Noon ET) in the gold-medal game at Lev Hapark Hall.

"Our next opponent will be very challenging," Bruce Pearl said. "If it's Israel, they have 12 professional players on their roster."

Wednesday's game will be broadcast on Jewish Life Television. If JLTV is not carried on your cable or satellite system, you can watch the action online at in the "JLTV Live Stream" viewing area.

In its five games thus far at the Maccabiah Games, the U.S. Maccabi Team has outscored its opponents by an average of 41.2 points per game (106.8 to 65.6) en route to a 4-1 record.

The Maccabiah Games are quadrennial Jewish Olympics, held in Israel the year following the Olympic Games. Every four years (it was every three years early in the Games' history), the best Jewish athletes from throughout the world compete in Open, Masters, Juniors and Disabled competitions.

The United States has previously won gold in men's open basketball at the Maccabiah Games in 1950, 1953, 1957, 1961, 1965, 1977, 1981, 1985 and 2001. The Americans claimed the silver in 1969, 1973, 1989 and 1993. The most recent Games, in 2005, saw the USA win bronze.

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