The Bahamas split weekend games; eliminated from qualifiers

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Simba FrenchSend an emailNovember 14, 2022 318 5 minute readFacebookTwitterLinkedInShare via Email

 Team Bahamas player Jaraun “Kino” Burrows drives to the basket in this photo. The Bahamas split two games over the weekend at the Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium, defeating Panama, 83-79, and falling to Argentina, 80-76. They are eliminated from the FIBA Americas World Cup Qualifiers. Fiba Americas

The Bahamas outscored Argentina 29-17 in the fourth quarter last night, but it was not enough as they fell short 80-76 to the fourth ranked team in the world in the FIBA (International Basketball Federation) Americas World Cup Qualifiers at the Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium.

Leading the way for The Bahamas was David Nesbitt who finished with a double-double – 18 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Godfrey Rolle III chipped in with 15 points and a game-high six assists in the spirited effort for Team Bahamas.

The loss means that The Bahamas is eliminated from qualifying for the 2023 FIBA World Cup as they sport a 3-7 win/loss record and sit in fifth place in Group E. Argentina is ahead of them with a 7-3 record. The Bahamas cannot finish higher than fifth place in the group with two more games remaining. Only seven teams from the Americas will participate at the 2023 FIBA World Cup – the top three teams in each of the remaining two groups and the best fourth-place team.

Steeping in as Head Coach for The Bahamas, Moses Johnson said he was proud of the team’s resiliency in the game, particularly after Argentina took them down, 95-77, in the away game in Mar del Plata, Argentina, in August.

“Well, a few costly turnovers down the stretch cost us but I’m so proud of these guys. A lot of people counted these guys out, but we came together and we bonded and these guys put up a heck of a fight tonight. We want to thank God for keeping everybody healthy and getting us through that game. We were right there at the end. A few bounces, the ball going our way and it could have been a different result, but thank God for the result nonetheless,” Johnson said.

The Bahamas split their two weekend games. They won their first game, 83-79, over Panama on Friday night. Looking ahead to the next window in February 2023, Johnson wants the team to finish strong. They are set to play Panama and Venezuela on the road.

“We’re satisfied. I mean, I’m never satisfied losing, but we gave a good effort,” Johnson said. “We would have wanted to go 2-0 in this window, but I’m satisfied with the effort that the guys gave on the floor this weekend. It’s never easy, knowing that you’re out of the race, but it’s always good to finish strong, you know. Nonetheless, these guys are always going to come out and compete. I’m so proud of them and they’re still staying resolute. They’re happy with the result. All I asked them to do tonight was to give me all they had, and they did that.”

The Bahamas had their biggest scoring run of the game, 11-0, in the fourth quarter. Before that, Argentina had a 66-47 lead with 9:38 left in the game. Nesbitt scored eight points during that run that ended with Argentina leading 66-58 with 6:44 left in the game.

Nesbitt got The Bahamas within three points when he made two free throws with 23 seconds left in the game. With the lead trimmed to three at 74-71, Argentina called a timeout. The Bahamas took it down to two points when Rolle completed a three-point play with 13 seconds left in the game. Argentina led 76-74 at that point. Argentina made their free-throws the rest of the way to hold on for the win.

The second quarter was the turning point of the game as Argentina outscored The Bahamas 23-12 in that stanza. This came after the first quarter ended 19-18 in favor of the away team.

The Bahamas shot just 23.5 percent in the second quarter, finishing at 36.7 percent at the end of the first half. That was mainly due to The Bahamas being forced to take jump shots as they had no inside presence.

The Bahamas came out the intermission on 7-0 run to cut the lead to five points, 42-37. Argentina took that lead back to double digits, taking a 50-39 lead at the 5:39 mark in the third quarter. Argentina ended the third quarter with a 63-47 lead.

Argentina was led by Juan Vaulet with a game-high 19 points.

The Bahamas shot 44.1 percent from the field while Argentina shot 47.4 percent for the game. Both teams were sloppy with the ball with The Bahamas coming away with 18 turnovers and Argentina with 17. However, Argentina scored 23 points from The Bahamas’ turnovers while The Bahamas only had 11 points off turnovers. The home team outrebounded the visiting team, 38-36.

On Friday, The Bahamas took down Panama, 83-79. The game had 12 lead changes and seven ties but The Bahamas led for just under 30 minutes of the game. The home team held their biggest lead of 12 points in the second quarter.

Every player on the Bahamian squad scored with Nesbitt leading the way with 14 points. Jaraun “Kino” Burrows came out of retirement from national duty to score 12 points – 10 of them coming in the final quarter.

Livingston Munnings Jr. had a game-high 13 rebounds as he flirted with a double-double. He finished with nine points.

The game came down to the fourth quarter as the teams were deadlocked at 63 points at the end of the third quarter.

Burrows turned back the clock in the fourth quarter and went to work inside the paint. The Bahamas was dominant there all night, outscoring the Panamanian squad, 44-30. Burrows got an assist, passing to Munnings who converted a bucket to cut into a lead by Panama. The score at that point was 70-67 in favor of Panama with 7:44 left in the game. About a minute later, Burrows made a layup to put The Bahamas up 71-70 at the 6:25 mark. He then made another layup after Panama came up empty as The Bahamas led 73-70 with 5:57 left.

Panama kept the game close. They got within one point when Carlos Rodriguez made a three-point shot with 1:12 left in the game. The Bahamas led 79-78 at that point. With The Bahamas needing some separation, Burrows made a layup with 57 seconds left in the game to put his team up 81-78. Team Bahamas held on the rest of the way.

It was a dominant game for The Bahamas on the glass as they outrebounded Panama 59-32 which included a whopping 22 offensive boards. Those offensive boards yielded 23 second chance points for Team Bahamas.

Panama were led by Josimar Ayarza and Rodriquez with 18 points apiece.

That was Bahamas’ first win at home in the first and second round of the FIBA Americas World Cup Qualifiers.

The final window of qualifiers is set for February 24 and 27, 2023, which is during the National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) seasons. In that final window, The Bahamas will play Venezuela and Panama on the road.

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