Scintillating shooting was not on the agenda Friday evening, but the 2016 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team still emerged victorious over Venezuela by a score of 80-45 before 20,578 fans at the United Center in Chicago, improving its record to 4-0 on its pre-Rio exhibition tour.
A flurry of late baskets boosted the Americans’ shooting accuracy above 40 percent in the final minutes of the contest, ending the game with 28 made field goals against 66 attempts, a 42.4 percent success rate. Venezuela was even colder from the field, hitting only 16 of its 67 tries for 23.9 percent. The U.S. missed 13 consecutive field goals in the second period, but still outscored Venezuela 16-6 in the quarter to take a 36-18 lead into the halftime locker room.
Kyrie Irving and Klay Thompson led the U.S. with 13 points apiece. They were the only two Americans to connect from three-point range as the U.S. hit only four of 25 three-point attempts.
With so many errant shots, there were plenty of rebounds to go around, and DeMarcus Cousins snared a game-high 12, while Carmelo Anthony grabbed nine and Chicago Bulls star Jimmy Butler pulled down eight in front of his hometown crowd. The U.S. won the rebounding battle, 54-29.
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Venezuela, which has qualified for only the second Olympic appearance in the program’s history, was led by John Cox with 14 points. Nestor Colmenares contributed 10 rebounds.
The U.S. team heads to Houston for its final exhibition game before departing for Brazil. The Americans face Nigeria on Monday, Aug. 1, at 8 p.m. ET in Houston’s Toyota Center. Drawn into Group A, the United States opens Olympic competition at 6 p.m. ET on Saturday, Aug. 6, against China in Carioca Arena.