Playing the role of spoiler, The Bahamas cut an 18 point fourth quarter deficit to just two, but the rally fell just short as Argentina avoided its third consecutive loss.
Argentina escaped the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium with an 80-76 win in the final game of the fifth window of FIBA World Cup ‘23 Americas Qualifiers.
Moses Johnson returned as the head coach for this window, assisted by John-Marc Nutt.
“I’m so happy with the effort these guys put forth. We came out a bit sluggish and flat in the second and third quarters against Argentina, but what we showed in the fourth quarter was that if we play for 40 minutes consistently, we can matchup with anybody. We went down 16 going into the fourth quarter and these guys did not give up. They were resolute, they locked in and we made a run and we were right there. A few miss free throws, a few shots fall, a few less turnovers down the stretch and who knows the result could have been different,” Johnson said, “I’m so happy with the effort of these guys in such a short time to turn around and have an effort like this, it just shows these guys can do anything once they put their minds do it.”
David Nesbitt led The Bahamas with 18 points, 12 rebounds, and four steals. He also shot 3-6 from three point range. Nesbitt’s dominant performance led four Bahamian players in double figures – Godfrey Rolle finished with 15 points and a team high six assists, Kadeem Coleby scored 12 points and Kino Burrows added 11 points. Jaron Cornish and JR Cadot each scored seven.
“This team is different from other teams we’ve been on,” Coleby said, “This team has less talent but more heart in my opinion. These guys fought and it’s been a blessing to see us play big games, win big games and come close in big games so it’s been a real turnaround for us and I’m really proud of it.”
Juan Valet led Argentina with 19 points, Lucio Redivo scored 15, Jose Vildoza scored 11 and Nicholas Romano added 10.
The Bahamas came out shooting efficiently from beyond the arch and made four three pointers in the first quarter. They trailed 19-18 after the first 10 minutes.
Argentina surged ahead with a 23-12 second quarter, took a 42-30 lead into the half, and maintained a 63-47 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The lead reached as much as 18 early in the fourth when Romano made a driving layup for a 65-47 lead with 9:51 left to play.
Argentina maintained a 12 point lead, 73-61 with 4:08 left to play, but The Bahamas rallied with eight unanswered points and an 11-1 run.
Cornish made a pair of driving layups to start the rally, Coleby made a dunk and a layup, and after Argentina ended the drought with a free throw, Rolle converted a three point play to make the score 76-74 with 13 seconds left to play.
Redivo made four free throws down the stretch for Argentina to put the game away.
Argentina converted 20-26 at the free throw, while The Bahamas was just 7-8 from the line. Argentina also got out in transition and had a 25-5 advantage in fast break points.