July 14, 2009
NETANYA, Israel - With Tennessee's Bruce Pearl orchestrating the action from courtside, Maccabi USA's Open Men's Basketball Team opened tournament play at the 18th World Maccabiah Games Tuesday with a one-sided 112-13 win over Mexico.
"Mexico was very young," Pearl said. "We played zone in the second half and didn't fast break. The sportsmanship was great, though, as both teams played hard and honored the game despite the score. We all shook hands and took pictures after the game."
Dan Grunfeld led the U.S. Maccabi Team with 22 points and was one of five Americans to score in double figures. Tennessee forward Steven Pearl added five points and two rebounds.
In other Maccabiah basketball action Tuesday, Argentina upset Russia.
"I scouted the Russia-Argentina game," Bruce Pearl said. "And both teams are capable of competing with us. I was very impressed with the coaching and how physical the play was."
The American squad returns to action Wednesday against France at Metrowest Hall at 6 p.m. (11 a.m. ET). France did not play Tuesday--the first day of competition.
"The French beat the U.S. four years ago," Bruce Pearl added. "France got the silver and (the Americans) got the bronze. So there's a lot at stake."