Canada still has a shot at Beijing berth

The Canadian Press ~ The News
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

English scores a dozen in comeback over Korea; Dalembert removed from team

Canada kept alive its Olympic basketball hopes on Wednesday, but Samuel Dalembert's shot at the Games appears over.

Canada rallied from an 18-point deficit to defeat Korea 79-77 to advance to the quarter-finals of a FIBA Olympic qualification tournament in Athens - and did so without Dalembert, a six-foot-11 centre who plays for the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers. The Haitian-born, Montreal-raised Dalembert was removed from the team prior to the game by Canadian coach Leo Rautins, who was reportedly unhappy with Dalembert's commitment.

Canada's Carl English (left) drives past Sekeum Oh of South Korea during their preliminary-round game in the FIBA men's basketball Olympic qualifying tournament in Athens on Wednesday. Canada scored the last 13 points of the game to eke out a 79-77 win an

Canada kept alive its Olympic basketball hopes on Wednesday, but Samuel Dalembert's shot at the Games appears over.

Canada rallied from an 18-point deficit to defeat Korea 79-77 to advance to the quarter-finals of a FIBA Olympic qualification tournament in Athens - and did so without Dalembert, a six-foot-11 centre who plays for the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers. The Haitian-born, Montreal-raised Dalembert was removed from the team prior to the game by Canadian coach Leo Rautins, who was reportedly unhappy with Dalembert's commitment.

"Without going into too much detail, it's a situation that we decided to move forward with the players who have the passion and desire to play for Canada," Rautins told the Los Angeles Times. "It's disappointing for sure, but I think you have to have players who are 100 per cent committed to it."

"Something like this doesn't just happen in one game, or overnight," added Rautins, who didn't say whether Dalembert left on his own or was kicked off the team.

"It's kind of something that's been brewing a little bit.

English scores 12 points

Carl English of Patrick's Cove had a dozen points in 20 minutes of play for Canada, which survived a slow start that saw the first period end in a 20-20 tie, but entered halftime down 49-33.

The Canadians fell behind 51-33 early in the third quarter and trailed by 12 points with three minutes to play before making a furious comeback. Canada scored the game's final 13 points to squeeze out the victory.

Guard Rowan Barrett led Canada with 22 points and six three-pointers, including a clutch three-pointer with 1:19 remaining that brought Canada to within two points.

"I'm excited to see the character of this team," Barrett said in a post-game conference call. "We earned some fans, who saw that we'll battle back and not give up. That's the meaning of being truly Canadian, in a way."

Jermaine Anderson hit the game-winner - a three-pointer with 34 seconds left - that put Canada ahead 78-77. He finished with 17 points, five rebounds and three assists.

Forward Levon Kendall had seven points and a game-high 14 rebounds.

Croatia will be quarter-final opponent

Canada will face Croatia in the quarter-finals on Friday, as the team continues to vie for one of three remaining Olympic berths up for grabs at the tournament.

When asked about Dalembert's absence, Barrett said the remaining Canadian players are on the same page moving forward.

"We're all unified," said Barrett. "We support our coach in his decision. There's total unity within our team here."

Barrett questioned whether Dalembert, who was born in Haiti but became a Canadian citizen last summer, understood what he was getting into when he agreed to wear the red and white jersey.

"This is not the CIS, the NCAA or the NBA," said Barrett. "This is FIBA basketball. It's a different animal. I'm not sure everyone who comes in necessarily has the background to fully understand what this is, and the type of a grind this is ... the four games in five days, the eight games in nine days."

Organizations: FIBA, NBA, Los Angeles Times Patrick's 20-20 NCAA

Geographic location: Canada, Beijing, Korea Athens Montreal Croatia Haiti

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments