CANADA DROPS OT DECISION TO DOMINICAN REPUBLIC IN FIBA AMERICUP QUALIFIERS REMATCH
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (February 24, 2020) -- The Canadian Senior Men’s National Team dropped an 88-84 decision in overtime against the Dominican Republic on the road in the group phase of the FIBA AmeriCup 2021 Qualifiers.
Playing in front of a passionate crowd at the Palacio de los Deportes in Santo Domingo, the Canadians thought they had the game won on a three-pointer from Conor Morgan at the buzzer in regulation. After much of the Canadian team ran off the court in celebration, officials reviewed the shot and ruled that it was a two and not a three-pointer, thus tying the game at 75 points and forcing overtime.
In the extra session, the teams traded buckets and ties before a three from Luis Montero gave the Dominican Republic a four-point advantage with 37 seconds remaining. Though Phil Scrubb hit a pair of free throws to trim the deficit to two, Canada couldn’t make up the distance and a three-point play opportunity for Eloy Vargas sealed the victory for Dominican Republic.
“Both teams played with a lot of heart,” Team Canada head coach Gordie Herbert said. “Both teams represented their countries very well. It was a very intense game.”
Canada was led by a game-high 26-point effort from Scrubb who shot 6-for-13 from the floor, including 4-for-9 from beyond the arc and 10-for-13 from the free throw line. He also added six assists. Aaron Best added 15 points for Canada while Kaza Kajami-Keane added 15 points and a team-high seven assists in the loss. Vargas had 16 points to lead Dominican Republic while Rigoberto Mendoza added 12 points.
This was the second game the two teams have played against each other in four days with Canada earning an 89-72 victory in Oshawa, Ontario on Friday.
Despite the loss, the players praised the supportive Dominican Republic crowd for helping to create an electric playing environment.
“We practiced for the past week and a half trying to prepare ourselves for a really good Dominican team,” Kajami-Keane said. “We knew it was going to be pretty hostile today, so I just tried to maintain my focus and try to help my team win the game.”
After trailing by six after the opening quarter and at halftime, Canada finally took its first lead of the game in the final minute of the third quarter after a pair of free throws from Kyle Landry. The quarter was an eventful one for Canada as Andrew Nicholson was called for an offensive foul and then a technical foul and fouled out of the game midway through the third. With Canada trailing by 10, Scrubb went on his own 9-0 run to trim the deficit to a point before free throws from Landry and Trae Bell-Haynes gave Canada a two-point lead heading into the fourth.
“I think it was a very hard fought game by both teams,” Gordie Herbert said. “Very intense. Both teams had great effort, the crowd was very good. We’re very proud of our players. We lost Nicholson with about 15 minutes to go in the game and we were down 10 at the time and the rest of the players really stood up and played outstanding.”
Canada shot 42 percent from the floor in the game, compared to the Dominican Republic shooting 49 percent. While Canada took care of the ball in Friday’s victory, they had 16 turnovers in Monday’s loss and Dominican Republic took advantage, outscoring Canada 17-1 in points off turnovers.
The FIBA AmeriCup 2021 Qualifiers will pick up in November where Canada will play its next pair of games in the group phase. Up next for Team Canada is the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in June.