Jermaine Samuels and Team USA got off to a fantastic start at the Pan Am Games, defeating the Virgin Islands 119-84 in their first game of group play. Samuels was a beast on both ends of the court, as was his Villanova teammate Collin Gillespie.
The pair of Wildcats started for Team USA, alongside Seton Hall’s Myles Powell, Providence’s Alpha Diallo, and former Creighton center Geoffrey Groselle. Diallo led all players with 20 points.
Jermaine Samuels had an amazing game with 16 points on 55% shooting from the floor. He added 4 rebounds, 2 steals, and an assist. He played primarily shooting guard and wing, showing much improved defense around the perimeter and was consistently finding open space to launch from deep. Don’t be surprised if you see him playing more at the guard position both in this tournament and next season for the Wildcats.
Collin Gillespie was the clear floor general for head coach Ed Cooley, leading Team USA in minutes and assists. He had 11 points, including shooting 60% from deep. He added 3 assists, 4 rebounds, and a steal, without committing any turnovers. That’s especially impressive given the speed at which this team pushed the ball and made the most of their transition opportunities.
The Villanova duo was a force in the first half, combining for 22 of the team’s 56 points. Samuels led Team USA with 13 points in the first half, and a game high +/- of +17. Gillespie hit his first three three point attempts to give the US an early first quarter lead, and continued to push tempo and find shooters in the first half.
Things cooled down for the pair of Wildcats in the second half as they got some more rest with the game in hand. Here’s the full stat sheet for today’s game. The US will play again tomorrow night, again on ESPN3, as they take on Venezuela at 10:00 PM ET.