Brazil drops Canada

Canada’s Cory Joseph (right) dribbles the ball under pressure from Brazil’s Marcelo Huertas during...

Canada’s Cory Joseph (right) dribbles the ball under pressure from Brazil’s Marcelo Huertas during their first round basketball game of the FIBA Americas Championship in Mar del Plata, Argentina. (Reuters)

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:07 AM ET

TORONTO - Unfortunately for Canada’s senior men’s basketball team, games last four quarters, not three.

Canada battled hard through three, but fell apart in the final frame on the way to a 69-57 loss to Brazil on Wednesday.

It was a tough way to open the FIBA Americas Championship. Canada shot the ball poorly and lacked creativity, but played solid defensively and on the boards in Argentina.

Trailing 33-28 after a low-scoring first half which saw the team shooting 28% from the field, Canada rallied to take the lead in the third, before eventually heading to the fourth down by a point.

A 15-0 run by Brazil banished any further thoughts of a Canadian rally.

“We played well enough defensively to win the game but it’s hard to win a game when you only score 57 points,” head coach Leo Rautins said via conference call after the game.

“We made a few bad decisions, we missed shots that we normally make ... offensively, we have to loosen players up, get their confidence.”

Brazil, missing a trio of NBA stars, improved to 2-0 at the tournament, joining the Dominican Republic atop Group A.

Canada shot just 31% for the game and was unable to score inside or on the run nearly often enough. Hard-nosed defence kept the squad in the game and bodes well for the rest of the tournament.

Rautins opted to go with a new-look starting lineup. Ontarians Cory Joseph, Aaron Doornekamp and Denham Brown joined Newfoundland’s Carl English and Quebec’s Joel Anthony.

That left more firepower than usual on the bench, but things didn’t work out as planned with Brown shooting 1-for-9, English 1-for-3, Doornekamp 1-for-7 and the bench 8-for-24.

Despite the loss, Canada is still well in reach of advancing to the quarterfinals, which start on Monday.

Venezuela is already 0-2 and Cuba is not expected to win any games.

The top four teams in each five-team group advance.

Canada will take on the Dominican Republic on Thursday, Cuba on Friday morning and Venezuela on Saturday in a gruelling stretch.

“There’s no surprises, the lapses hurt us and we just have to find a way to play for 40 minutes (Thursday),” said point guard Jermaine Anderson.

In other action, Canada’s Group A competition, the star-laden Dominican Republic needed to outscore Venezuela 29-15 in the fourth quarter to eke out a three-point win. Atlanta Hawks centre Al Horford was the difference, scoring 19 points while only missing one shot, helping to make up for 3-for-11 combined shooting from fellow NBAers Francisco Garcia and Al Horford.

In Group B, Favoured Argentina rocked Uruguay 80-51 and Puerto Rico dispatched Paraguay 101-55.

A day earlier, Canada was off, but saw Brazil beat Venezuela 92-83 and the Dominican Republic thrash Cuba 90-60. Because those teams played on the first day, they will each get a rest at some point while Canada has to play two night matches and two day affairs consecutively. Unfortunately for Canada’s senior men’s basketball team, games last four quarters, not three.


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