FIBA Americas: Preliminary round is done

The preliminary rounds of the FIBA Americas 2013 are now in the books. Canada, Jamaica, Argentina and the Dominican Republic all came away with victories in their final matches for round one. Both Brazil and Paraguay end up as the winless teams in their respective groups and will not be proceeding into the second stage of the competition.

Group A

Canada vs. Uruguay, 93:67

FIBA Americas

Canada held strong in an easy win over Uruguay. Their only loss in the tournament so far has come at the hands of Puerto Rico, the lone remaining undefeated team in the competition.

Canada was led by Andrew Nicholson (205 cm, St. Bonaventure’12) who came off the bench to lead four other players in double figures. He efficiently provided offense, knocking down four out of his five field goal attempts and nailing all three of his shots from downtown. Cory Joseph (190 cm, Texas’11) was excellent at directing traffic for his team with his seven assists, which he added to go along with his 17 points for the game. Forwards Levon Kendall (209 cm, Pittsburgh’07) and Tristan Thompson (203 cm, Texas’11) each added 13 and 14 points, respectively.

Uruguay tried to keep pace with Canada, but could not pull off any rallies that could turn the tide of the game. The 18-point effort put forth by Bruno Fitipaldo (183 cm) was not enough to lift his team. Fellow starters, Emilio Taboada (191 cm) and Esteban Batista (208 cm) were the only other players who hit double figures for Uruguay, with 14 and 10 points apiece.

Brazil vs. Jamaica, 76:78

Brazil capped off a disappointing run in the tournament with a two-point loss to Jamaica. It was a do-or-die game for either team, with the victor getting another day to fight in the tournament.

Jamaica’s Samardo Samuels (206 cm, Louisville’10) willed his team to victory with 21 points and eight rebounds. He pounded the ball in the paint, where he got fouled often. He made his opponents pay either way, by going 11-12 from the free-throw line, making him a seemingly unstoppable force to be reckoned with. He got help from his Nigerian-Jamaican teammate Oritseweyinmi Efejuku (196 cm, Providence’09) who added 16 points and two steals.

Brazil had a balanced attack, with four of its players notching double figures, but it wasn’t enough to stifle the heroics of Samuels on the other end. The Brazilians were led by reserves Vitor Benite (190 cm) and Caio Silveira (211 cm) who each finished with 12 points.

Group B

Mexico vs. Argentina, 78:98

The Argentinian squad showed that they are a team not to be taken lightly as they rolled over Mexico in a convincing 20-point victory. The match served as the tiebreaker for both teams, as they both finished the preliminary round with a record of 3-1. Argentina takes the top spot with Mexico now trailing closely behind.

Luis Scola (206 cm) was key to Argentina’s win as he delivered 25 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists to lead his team. Selem Safar (190 cm) chipped in 18 points of his own, thanks in part to his shooting 60% from behind the arc (3-5). Hector Hernandez (206 cm, Fresno State’08) and Gustavo Ayon (209 cm, San Jose State’07) paced the Mexican team with 21 and 19 points, respectively.

Paraguay vs. Dominican Republic, 54:83

The Dominican Republic ran all over Paraguay to keep them without a win in the FIBA Americas and they did it in very convincing fashion to the tune of a 29-point deficit at the end of the final quarter. The win gave the Dominican Republic team an even 2-2 record to finish the preliminary round, keeping them still in contention to move on into the knock-out stage of the competition.

Naturalized American, Karl-Anthony Towns (208 cm, Kentucky’14) efficiently led three other teammates in double figures with 16 points. Towns may have only logged 18 minutes in the contest, but he made the most of his time on the floor by knocking down all of his shots from the field (5-5).

Guillermo Araujo (204 cm) was the only one on his game for Paraguay as he finished 26 points and four rebounds. He had only four other teammates who were able to put up points on the board.

***

Here are the games scheduled for September 5:

Dominican Republic vs. Jamaica

Mexico vs. Canada

Argentina vs. Puerto Rico

Venezuela vs. Uruguay

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