Friday, 4 September 2009

CP article on Canada's big victory today

Canada qualifies for world basketball championships with win over Dominicans

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Canadian men's basketball team is going to Turkey.

Aaron Doornekamp of Odessa, Ont., hit a pair of crucial three-pointers in the fourth quarter as the Canadians held on to beat the Dominican Republic 80-76 Friday at the FIBA Americas tournament. The victory clinches a semifinal berth for Canada (3-4), and with it, a spot in next year's world championships.

The Canadians will make their first world championship appearance since 2002 in Indianapolis, where they finished 13th in the last significant senior tournament Canada has played in.

With the teams trading baskets in a tight fourth quarter, Toronto's Jermaine Anderson converted a rare four-point play - making a three-pointer and hitting the ensuing free throw - to give Canada a 69-64 lead.

Doornekamp's first three midway through the quarter extended the lead to 72-66, and after the Dominicans trimmed the lead to one on a pair of Jack Martinez free throws, Doornekamp hit another three with 1:26 remaining to put Canada back up by four.

Miami Heat forward Joel Anthony, a Montreal native, hit a pair of free throws in the final minute to preserve the lead, and Andy Rautins added a pair to put the game out of reach.

Anderson led the way with 21 points for the Canadians, while Carl English of Patrick's Cove, N.L., added 13 points and Jesse Young of Peterborough, Ont., had 11. Vancouver's Levon Kendall chipped in with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Charlie Villanueva of the Milwaukee Bucks and Luis Flores each had 17 points to pace the Dominican Republic (3-4), while Al Horford of the Atlanta Hawks had 14 points and 14 rebounds.

Canada dominated from long distance, hitting 14 of its 27 three-point attempts. The Dominicans converted just five of 21 shots from long range.

The Dominicans used an 8-0 run to erase an early five-point deficit, and escaped the first quarter with a 16-13 lead. The advantage grew to seven points before Jermaine Bucknor capped a Canada spurt with a three-pointer that evened the game 23-23.

Consecutive baskets from Martinez and Carlos Morban restored the Dominicans' five-point lead, and they finished the half up 35-30.

Trailing by eight early in the third quarter, the Canadians stormed back with a 12-2 run in a span of two-and-a-half minutes to seize the lead. Anderson had five points during the run, and added a three-pointer late in the quarter to put Canada back in front 50-48.

English followed with back-to-back threes, but the Dominicans closed with a 6-0 run to even the score at 56 after three quarters.

The Canadians were 1-4 at one point in the quarter-final round, but kept their hopes alive with a 97-65 win over Panama on Thursday.

Canada also had to hope Uruguay didn't defeat Argentina, which could have potentially set up a three-way tie for fourth, but Argentina did its part by defeating Uruguay 73-66 earlier Friday.

The semifinals are Saturday, while the gold and bronze-medal games go Sunday.

Brazil, Puerto Rico and Argentina had already secured the first three berths for the world championships.

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