Canada has no option but to win out

CanWest News Service
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BASKETBALL/FIBA AMERICAS CHAMPIONSHIP English scores team-high 17 points against Argentina, but Canadians lose third straight

The Canadian senior men's basketball team opened the FIBA Americas championship quarter-final round with a 67-51 setback against Argentina on Tuesday.

"Argentina showed that they are one of the top teams and certainly turned things around from a week ago," Canadian head coach Leo Rautins said in a statement. "They played outstanding basketball and are a very smart team."

Canadian guard Carl English (centre) drives to the basket as Argentinas Leonardo Gutierrez (10) defends and Federico Kammerichs looks on during their FIBA Americas championship quarter-final round basketball game in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Tuesday. Argen

The Canadian senior men's basketball team opened the FIBA Americas championship quarter-final round with a 67-51 setback against Argentina on Tuesday.

"Argentina showed that they are one of the top teams and certainly turned things around from a week ago," Canadian head coach Leo Rautins said in a statement. "They played outstanding basketball and are a very smart team."

Canada was plagued by 23 turnovers in the match in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Team Canada also shot a mere 12 per cent on two-for-16 from three-point land compared to 44 per cent for Argentina. The Argentines, who opened the tournament with losses against Venezuela and Brazil, led by as many as 20 points in the third quarter.

"Obviously, you can't win a game the way we played today," added Rautins. "You can't have 23 turnovers and not execute. We basically beat ourselves and you can't play basketball that way. We have to find a way to get out of this or it's not going to be a very fun remaining time here in Puerto Rico."

Carl English of Patrick's Cove was Canada's top scorer and rebounder with 17 points and six boards. Team captain Jesse Young followed with 13 points and four rebounds.

English self-critical

"The teams are playing very well so we have to come out a change the way we start more like Mexico (a 95-40 Canadian victory)," a disappointed English said in a news release. "I think I personally have to do a better job in getting my teammates involved and not turn over the ball as much."

Leo Gutierrez led the victors with 15 points, including five-for-seven from the three-point line. Federico Kammerichs added 13 points and seven rebounds, while Luis Scola netted 12 points and nine boards.

Argentina, which led 56-38 after three quarters, opened play with two three-pointers, by Kammerichs and by Paolo Quinteros. Canada reduced the deficit to 15-13 by the end of the quarter, with Kammerichs leading all scorers with seven points.

Canada has now lost three straight games.

It doesn't get any easier from here on in for Team Canada, which finished the first round with a 2-2 record, beating Mexico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, while losing to Uruguay and host team Puerto Rico.

Canada next meets Brazil today, Panama on Thursday and the Dominican Republic on Friday.

The top four nations overall in the 10-team tournament will advance to the final round and earn a berth to the 2010 FIBA world championship in Turkey next summer.

"It's mathematics now," Rautins said of Canada's chances to qualify for the worlds. "If you don't win you don't go."

Organizations: FIBA, San Juan, Patrick's Team Canada Dominican Republic

Geographic location: Canada, Argentina, Puerto Rico Brazil Americas Mexico Venezuela U.S. Virgin Islands Uruguay Panama Turkey

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