Brazil 95, Puerto Rico 72
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ Brazil opened the Tournament of the Americas on Saturday with a 95-72 victory over Puerto Rico in what was considered the best matchup of the Olympic qualifying event.
Because the top team from each pool receives a bye into the semifinals and a berth to the Olympics, the game took on extra importance. Brazil and Puerto Rico are consiered the best teams in Pool B.
The second- and third-place teams advance to the quarterfinals and can still earn a semifinal berth.
The game was close for a half, but Brazil, which led 46-45 at halftime, blew the game open with a 25-5 run that gave the South Americans an 83-59 lead with 6:43 to play.
Oscar Schmidt led Brazil with 24 points and nine rebounds, while Gerson Victalino had 15 points and six blocked shots as Brazil dominated inside against a team known for its physical frontline. Maury Souza had 10 points and 18 assists for Brazil.
Jose Ortiz led Puerto Rico with 26 points and 11 rebounds. Puerto Rico shot just 26.3 percent in the second half (10 for 38) and Brazil took advantage inside to make 21 of 24 free throws in the second half.