[su_spacer size=”20″] Damien Wilkins scored 18 points to help lead the United States National Team to an 87-82 win over the Dominican Republic in the bronze medal matchup of the Pan Am Games on Saturday.[su_spacer size=”40″] Wilkins made 7-of-11 shots from the field, including his only 3-point attempt, and was 3-of-3 from the line. He also grabbed five rebounds, collected two steals and blocked two shots in 33 minutes of action.
[su_spacer size=”40″] The Americans returned to the court less than 15 hours after their disappointing overtime loss to Canada in the semifinals and started slowly. The Dominican Republic led 26-15 following the first quarter and pushed its advantage to 13 points at halftime.
[su_spacer size=”40″] The U.S. trimmed the margin to single digits at 68-59 through three quarters and opened the fourth quarter on a 19-7 run. Wilkins capped the surge with a 3-point play at the 4:03 mark that gave the Americans their first lead of the day at 78-75.
[su_spacer size=”40″] A Wilkins putback with 1:05 left put the U.S. up for good, 83-81.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Wilkins, the oldest member of the team at 35, was making his international debut representing the U.S. Over the five-game tournament, he averaged 13.2 points while shooting 54.8 percent from the floor, 75.0 percent from 3-point range and 70.8 percent from the line. Wilkins also chipped in 5.0 rebounds in 25.4 minutes per game.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Wilkins was a two-year letterwinner for the Bulldogs in 2002-03 and 2003-04 and was co-captain his senior season. In 2004, he made the Seattle SuperSonics’ as an undrafted free agent and eventually played nine seasons in the NBA with five franchies – Seattle/Oklahoma City, Minnesota, Atlanta, Detroit and Philadelphia. Wilkins has played in the NBA’s D-League, China and Puerto Rico during the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons.