Wichita State’s Ron Baker finished the Pan Am Games with two strong performances and a bronze medal in Toronto.
The United States defeated the Dominican Republic 87-82 on Saturday in the third-place game by rallying from a 21-point deficit. Team USA finished 3-2 in the tournament and extended a gold-medal drought that started with a second-place finish in 1987.
Baker scored 11 points in Saturday’s game, making 3 of 5 three-pointers. He added five rebounds, three assists and two steals. In Friday’s semifinal loss to Canada, he scored 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting with three steals.
“It was not looking good,” USA coach Mark Few said after Saturday’s game in a news release. “Through that whole time, though, Ron Baker was just playing his tail off, and I think that kind of kept us alive.”
Guard Bobby Brown led the United States with 19 points, adding five assists without a turnover, while making 3 of 8 threes. He scored 14 points in the second half. Damien Wilkins added 18 points and five rebounds.
James Stokley led the Dominican Republic with 16 points. His team committed nine turnovers, seven in the fourth quarter, and shot 37 percent (10 of 27) from the field in the second half. The Dominican Republic led 63-42 with 4:23 remaining in third quarter before Team USA closed the period on a 17-5 run.
The United States outscored the Dominican Republic 28-14 in the fourth quarter. Baker’s three tied the scored 73-all with 5:45 to play. Taurean Prince’s three tied it a 81-all and Team USA took the lead for good on two free throws by Wilkins with 1:06 to play.
Team USA made 17 of 19 foul shots in the second half and committed only three turnovers.
In five games, Baker made 13 of 26 shots, 5 of 14 from behind the FIBA three-point line, which is 22 feet, 1 3/4 inches as compared to the 20-9 college distance. He made all 10 of his free throws and added 12 rebounds, seven assists, with one turnover, and a team-leading seven steals.
Former Kansas star Keith Langford, who sat out Saturday’s game, averaged 8.0 points in four games.