U.S. pulls away after closest first half yet

LAS VEGAS -- Nolan Richardson proudly spoke of the scrappy effort his team gave. Mike Krzyzewski was left to defend his players -- and he was on the winning side.

Mexico kept the game respectable into the second half before the United States pulled away for a 127-100 victory Monday night in the second round of the FIBA Americas tournament.

The Americans were never in danger of losing, but also were outplayed for large parts of the second and third quarters by what should have been an overmatched opponent.

Carmelo Anthony scored 28 points, tying the American record in an Olympic qualifier. He had 16 in a sensational opening quarter, when the Americans shot 80 percent from the field.

• LOCAL CYCLING -- Rock Hill's Will Richter, 13, a member of the Carolina Storm Junior Development Racing Team, took first place in the Elite Men Category 5 (adults 35 and under) this past weekend in the 42-mile High Rock Lake Road Race in Salisbury, N.C.

His teammates, Brian Sullivan and Hunter Stephenson of Charlotte, placed second and third. The Carolina Storm is a team of junior (under 18) cyclists who learn, train and race in cycling competitions in the Southeast.

• PRO BASKETBALL -- The Phoenix Suns and D.J. Strawberry, their second-round draft pick, have agreed to a two-year contract that guarantees him a roster spot this season.

Strawberry, the 59th overall selection in the June draft, will receive the rookie minimum salary of $427,163 for the 2007-08 season. The second year of the contract is a team option.

The 6-foot-5 Strawberry, a former University of Maryland star and son of former baseball star Darryl Strawberry, played point guard in the NBA Summer League and could provide depth at that position for the Suns.

• PRO BASEBALL -- Cecil Cooper has never had a problem communicating with players individually. It's the group settings Cooper is going to have to get used to as the new manager of the Houston Astros.

Cooper took over as manager after Phil Garner was fired Monday, getting a little more than a month to show that he should have the job next year. The Astros began Tuesday 58-73, nine games behind first-place Chicago in the NL Central.

Cooper, Houston's bench coach the last three seasons, met with his team for about 30 minutes before batting practice.

• PRO FOOTBALL -- Former No. 1 NFL draft pick Tim Couch had doping regimens that called for anabolic steroids and human growth hormone, according to documents obtained by

Couch, cut by the Jacksonville Jaguars earlier this month, told he used HGH for about a week, under a doctor's care, in hopes it would help him recover from shoulder surgery. He denied using steroids or any other banned drugs and said he had never seen the documents. reported Tuesday it had obtained documents from an anonymous source with Couch's name printed across the top that called for extensive use of drugs banned by the league. The Web site identified the source as a former associate of Brian Yusem, a nutritionist in Boca Raton, Fla., who said has worked with Couch since January 2006.

• COLLEGE BASKETBALL -- Former South Carolina point guard Mike Boynton Jr. has a new job in the Palmetto State.

Boynton was hired to be the associate men's basketball coach at Wofford, head coach Mike Young said.