Venezuela dominated the entire game though the Dominican Republic fought back hard in the fourth quarter but couldn’t complete their comeback attempt.
Trailing 6-4 early in the first quarter, Luis Bethelmy hit a three-pointer with 5:27 left in the quarter to put Venezuela up for good 7-6. Venezuela would outscore the Dominican Republic 13-6 the rest of the quarter.
While the Dominican Republic kept the game within 10 points much of the game, Venezuela led by as many as 15 with 2:52 remaining in the third period, they couldn’t ever get their offense going and trailed 53-42 heading into the final stanza.
The Dominican Republic began the fourth quarter on a 20-9 run to knot the game up at 62-62 on a pair of free throws by James Feldeine with 2:49 to go. The game would remain tied over the next 1:15 until former Atlanta Hawk Donta Smith converted both of his free throws to put the host up for good 64-62. Following Smith’s free throws, Miguel Marriaga hit a jumper and Smith hit four more free throws.
Smith led Venezuela with 19 points despite shooting only 5-of-18 from the field and 0-of-6 from beyond the arc. Smith was 9-of-9 from the free throw line and grabbed seven caroms. David Cubillan added 12 points and Rafael Perez contributed 11 points.
Feldeine produced a game-high 19 points to lead the Dominican Republic. Francisco Garcia and Juan Coronado also reached double-figures with 12 and 11 points respectively.
Venezuela held a 20-12 advantage in points in the paint and converted 14 Dominican Republic turnovers into 19 points. The Dominican Republic hit 22-of-23 free throws, including 5-of-5 in the fourth quarter, to stay in striking distance.
Led by Renaldo Balkman’s 19 points, Puerto Rico (3-0) had little problem handing Uruguay (2-1) their first defeat of round-robin play in the tournament on Sept. 1.
Balkman, who has been terrific in the tournament so far, hit 9-of-13 shots and grabbed eight rebounds to go along with four steals. Carlos Arroyo and Alexander Gallindo paced Puerto Rico with 19 points apiece and combined to hit 11 of the team’s 15 triples.
Venezuela led much of the first part of the first quarter and trailed just 16-15 with 2:49 to go. However, Puerto Rico went on a 14-3 run to lead 29-18 after the first 10 minutes. Puerto Rico pushed their lead to 20 late in the second quarter and Venezuela was never able to recover.
Puerto Rico shot 53 percent from the floor (36-of-65) and 52 percent from beyond the arc (15-of-29). Puerto Rico also scored 19 points off of 21 Uruguay turnovers and held a 24-14 points in the paint advantage.
Leandro Garcia led Venezuela with 17 points.