Argentina have captured the gold medal at the FIBA AmeriCup 2022 after defeating hosts Brazil 75-73 in a thrilling Final, culminating a perfect 6-0 record in the tournament.
Argentina jumped out to a 14-4 lead in the first five minutes and a 26-14 lead after one quarter, as their offense was clicking early with six three-pointers in the quarter. Gabriel Deck paced Argentina with 8 points while Nicolas Laprovittola had 6 points and both players knocked down two shots from beyond the arc.
Argentina kept their foot on the gas, stretching their lead to as many as 15 points in the second quarter, but Brazil didn’t go away, as they won the quarter 24-22 behind Vitor Benite’s 7 points and Marcelinho Huertas’ 6 points in the quarter.
Brazil got things going in the third quarter with a 12-5 run to cut their deficit to three points in the first few minutes. Three points was as close as the hosts got in the quarter on multiple occasions, as Argentina closed with eight made free-throws across the final couple minutes to pull out to a 67-60 lead heading to the fourth quarter.
The raucous home crowd turned it up a notch in the final quarter, helping lift Brazil to a 10-2 run, as they grabbed their first lead of the game since early in the first quarter. The two teams traded leads until the final lead change came on a game-winning layup by Deck with 16.1 seconds left, sealing the deal for Argentina.
It was only fitting for Deck to make the last shot of the tournament, as he was named the TCL Player of the Game once again, finishing with 20 points and 7 rebounds on 6-of-12 shooting from the field, 3-of-5 from three-point and 5-of-6 from the free-throw line for a game-high efficiency rating of 20.
He was also named the MVP of the AmeriCup after a stellar tournament, averaging 21.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game, while shooting 64.9 percent from the field, 40.0 percent from three-point and 86.2 percent from the free-throw line.
Sometimes basketball is as simple as which team can put it in the hoop more and at a better percentage, and that was the case for Argentina, as they converted 41.1 percent of their shots from the field compared to 36.8 percent for Brazil. Argentina also made seven more free-throws than Brazil (19-of-21 vs. 12-of-16).
This was the fourth time that Argentina and Brazil squared off in an AmeriCup Final, as Argentina have now won three of those four matchups (2001, 2011, 2022). After finishing with the silver medal, Brazil have now won 11 medals at the competition, the second most all-time behind Argentina, who now have 14.
Argentina also won a medal for the 11th AmeriCup in a row, the best run in the history of the competition, and it will be their 14th medal overall, also the most ever.
“Extremely proud of our guys. I think they did an amazing job, but before that, I want to congratulate Brazil and his players, coaches. I think they did an amazing tournament as well. Could be for them, could be for us. I think luck sometimes decides, so congrats to Brazil for an amazing tournament and an amazing Final,” said Argentina head coach Pablo Prigioni.
“Our guys did an amazing job putting the first, second, third effort defensively. We talked before the game that they’re [Brazil] gonna give us at some point, an opportunity. We didn’t know if it was gonna be early in the game, in the middle of the game or in the end of the game. It was probably early. It helps us to take the lead and manage the game. but we knew that they were gonna bounce back. We talked about being ready for that punch. I think we absorbed it and then in the end, we have more patience, more calm.”