LIMA, Peru — Creighton’s two representatives on the United States’ Pan American Games team played critical roles during a nail-biter Friday night, but it wasn’t enough in an 87-84 defeat to Puerto Rico.
Junior guard Ty-Shon Alexander tied the game at 79-79 with his drive to the rim at the 2:36 mark in the fourth quarter. Former CU center Geoffrey Groselle went 1 of 2 from the free-throw line with 36 seconds left, putting the U.S. in front 84-83.
But that was the last time the U.S. held the lead Friday.
Puerto Rico hit a 3-pointer to go ahead in the final seconds and claim the win.
It was the first loss for the U.S. at the Pan Am Games. But the team still earned a spot in the medal round this weekend. The U.S. will face off against Argentina at 8 p.m. Saturday.
The U.S. squad is made up of two graduates and 10 current college players, all of whom have Big East ties. Providence’s Ed Cooley is the head coach.
And Groselle and Alexander have had integral roles for the team, particularly Friday.
Groselle scored seven of his squad’s 15 third-quarter points, stepping in when top scorer Myles Powell was sidelined with foul trouble. Groselle, who scored 11 points Thursday, finished with eight points and four rebounds against Puerto Rico Friday.
Alexander earned the start Friday, contributing regularly at point guard during his 29 minutes of action. He scored six points and grabbed four rebounds.
But the U.S. team missed the playmaking Powell down the stretch Friday. The Seton Hall star had scored 30 points in a win over Venezuela Thursday, but he fouled out with 4½ minutes left Friday.
Puerto Rico, which improved to 3-0 at the Pan Am Games, took its first lead of the contest 90 seconds later.
The U.S. was led Friday by Villanova junior Jermaine Samuels (17 points), Providence senior Alpha Diallo (16 points) and St. John’s senior Mustapha Heron (12 points). Samuels actually had a chance to tie the game at the buzzer, but his long 3-pointer fell short.