United States shakes off sluggish opening quarter, routs Venezuela

United States shakes off sluggish opening quarter, routs Venezuela

The United States men’s basketball team, much like their female counterparts, are in a position where they can essentially name their score. While some other competing nations will certainly look to compete, the United States not winning the gold medal would be an incredibly large upset. That’s what made the first quarter of their game against Venezuela so interesting, with the South American team keeping pace to the tune of an 18-all tie through ten minutes.

Then the second quarter happened, with the Americans outscoring Venezuela 30-8 and going on to win by the final score of 113-69. Now 2-0 in group play, the United States has won those contest by an average of 50.5 points per game.

Paul George, who shot 6-for-7 from the field, led five Americans in double figures with 20 points on the night capped by a ferocious one-handed dunk with three minutes remaining in the game. Also reaching double figures were Jimmy Butler (17 points), Kevin Durant (16 on 5-for-5 shooting from the field), Carmelo Anthony and DeAndre Jordan (14 points apiece). As a team the United States shot 55 percent from the field (and 32-for-38 from the foul line) while limiting Venezuela to 34 percent shooting.

John Cox led Venezuela with 19 points and Gregory Echenique, who finished his collegiate career at Creighton, added 18 along with seven rebounds. Gregory Vargas scored ten points and David Cubillan, a college teammate of Butler’s at Marquette, finished with nine points.

The United States returns to the court Wednesday when they face Australia, which is also 2-0 in group play.

Lucas Braathen, world’s top male slalom skier, in doubt for world championships

Lucas Braathen

Norway’s Lucas Braathen, the world’s top male slalom skier this season, is doubtful to compete in the world championships slalom on Feb. 19 after appendix surgery on Tuesday.

“It’s been a tough couple of days fighting after surprisingly finding out about quite an intense infection on my appendix,” Braathen, a 22-year-old soccer convert with a Brazilian mom, posted on social media. “I’ve been through surgery and I’m blessed that it went successfully.”

The Norway Alpine skiing team doctor said Braathen’s recovery will take a few weeks, but there is a small possibility he can make it back for the world championships slalom, which is on the final day of the two-week competition.

Braathen has two slalom wins and one giant slalom win this World Cup season. He will miss Saturday’s slalom in Chamonix, France, the last race before worlds. Countryman Henrik Kristoffersen and Swiss Daniel Yule can overtake him atop the World Cup slalom standings in Chamonix.

Braathen entered last year’s Olympics as the World Cup slalom leader and skied out in the first run at the Games.

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Sifan Hassan sets marathon debut

Sifan Hassan

Sifan Hassan, who won 5000m and 10,000m gold and 1500m bronze at the Tokyo Olympics in an unprecedented triple, will make her 26.2-mile debut at the London Marathon on April 23.

Hassan, a 30-year-old Dutchwoman, said she will return to the track after the race, but how the London Marathon goes will play into whether she bids for the Olympic marathon in 2024.

“I want to see what I can do on the marathon distance, to make future decisions,” she posted on social media. “We’ll see if I will finish the distance or if the distance will finish me.”

Exhausted by her Olympic feat, Hassan reportedly went at least seven months after the Tokyo Games between training in track spikes. She finished fourth in the 10,000m and sixth in the 5000m at last July’s world championships in Eugene, Oregon.

“I really needed a break after the Tokyo Olympics,” Hassan said at worlds. “I was mentally crashed. I didn’t even care about running.”

London, billed as the best women’s marathon field in history, also boasts Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya, world record holder Brigid Kosgei of Kenya, 2016 Olympic 10,000m champion Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia, 1500m world record holder Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia and the two fastest Americans in history, Emily Sisson and Keira D’Amato.

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