Thursday, 16 August 2007

Canada Wins in overtime in Puerto Rico

In what should be considered one of the biggest wins in the Leo Rautins coaching era, Canada came back from deficits as large as 14 points, tying the game on a late 3 by 6'2" Jermaine Anderson before locking down Puerto Rico defensively in the overtime and riding 6'10" Samuel Dalembert's late layup to a 65-63 overtime victory over the hosts on the first day of the Tuto Marchand Continental Cup in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Down 57-52 with just over a minute to play, Canada scored the final 5 points of regulation as Anderson fed Dalembert for an ally-oop slam out of a timeout and later out of another time out with only 5 seconds left, Anderson made no mistake beyond the arc to send the game into overtime. Shortly after a 6-0 Puerto Rican run early in the fourth quarter extended their lead to 11 at 49-38, Canada went on a 7-0 run of their own as Dalembert hammered home a dunk off a nice feed from 6'10" Levon Kendall (11 points/7 rebounds), Anderson hit a 3 after a Dalembert offensive rebound (7 "o" boards) and then Kendall made another jumper allowing Canada to crawl back to within 3 at 53-50. But Puerto Rico's slick 6'2" guard Carlos Arroyo (6 points on only 1-9 shooting but 9 assists) began breaking Canada down off the dribble and finding teammates. When Arroyo found 6'8" Angelo Reyes (12 points, 14 rebounds) for a lay-in with just over one minute to play, things looked bleak for Canada but then Anderson fed Dalembert for the loop out of the time out, starting Canada's dramatic comeback victory. Canada allowed only 6 points in the overtime, all by 6'2" Elias Ayuso, who had 18 points to lead Puerto Rico and the Canadians overcame a 2 for 6 effort from the free throw line down the stretch in overtime which could have helped them clinch the game earlier. Canada also got an outstanding effort from 6'5" Dave Thomas (6 points/11 rebounds), who had a key dunk during the comeback and had several huge defensive rebounds down the stretch. Canada started very slowly committing 13 turnovers in the first 15 minutes of the game and 15 overall in the first half. As a result, the Canadians trailed 26-12 in the second quarter but Anderson started a 9-0 Canada run with a 3 and Canada was within 6 at 29-23 at the intermission. Canada stayed in the game by outrebounding Puerto Rico 26-13 in the half including 9 offensive rebounds. In the second half, Dalembert picked up his third foul early and the Puerto Ricans established a 12 point lead. But upon Dalembert's return from the bench, Canada's lineup of Dalembert, Anderson, Kendall, Thomas and 6'5" Andy Rautins, who had 5 points down the stretch, brought the team back, playing the final 13 minutes including the overtime together to seal the win. Canada committed only 4 turnovers after halftime. Dalembert led Canada with 13 points and 13 rebounds while Anderson added a stellar 11 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists including several clutch baskets and looks. Canada held Puerto Rico to only 30% shooting for the game and outrebounded Puerto Rico 59-39. The Puerto Ricans have a solid top 8 (including several players who grew up in the New York City area with Puerto Rican citizenship) with Arroyo, 5'10" Jose Juan Berea (Northeastern/Dallas Mavericks), 7'3" Peter John Ramos (Washington/ 7 points, 4 rebounds), 6'7" Carmelo Lee (Long Beach State-New York City), Ayuso, 7'0" twenty-year-old phenom Ricardo Rosa and 6'8" Angelo Reyes (USC/New York City), so defeating this group at home in front of several thousand rabid fans is a tremendous accomplishment which should serve the group well going into their game against Argentina tomorrow at 6 PM. Click here for more statistical information on the game.

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