Austin Toros' (San Antonio Spurs' D-League affiliate) Lance Thomas recorded a double-double to lead Team USA (1-0) to a narrow 77-76 win over the Dominican Republic (0-1) at the 2011 Pan American Games.
Thomas recorded 15 points, grabbed 16 rebounds, shot 6-13 from the field, 3-4 from the free-throw line, 3 assists in 24 minutes of action.
The two teams were tied after the first quarter at 20, but Team USA fell behind early in the second quarter as the Dominican Republic went on an 11-0 run and outscored the Americans 17-9.
At the half it was 37-29, Dominican Republic with the lead.
However, Team USA came roaring back in the third quarter with an 11-2 run but still found themselves down heading into the final quarter, 57-54.
The fourth quarter was nip-and-tuck with the American taking the lead 76-74 in the waning moments of the game. After a costly turnover by Team USA, the Dominican Republic was on the verge of tying the game when Marcus Lewis timely blocked the potential game-tying layup, grabbed the rebound and was fouled sending him to the free-throw line.
Lewis made 1-2 free-throws, enough to seal the win for Team USA.
"It says a lot about us because now that we have that game out of the way, I’d rather have us experience that in our first game as opposed to experiencing later on in the tournament and not know what to do. So now that we have that experience under our belt as far as being able to stick together at the end of the game and make the plays to win it will definitely help us throughout the rest of the tournament." said Toros' Thomas.
Toros' Leo Lyons scored 7 points, grabbed 4 rebounds, and recorded 1 assist in 13 minutes. Former Spurs guard Blake Ahearn notched 4 points, 1 assist, and grabbed 1 rebound in 20 minutes.
Team USA will next face the defending Pan American Games champions Brazil.