Jermaine Anderson with Big Game, Not Enough to Defeat Venezuela

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PHOTO COURTESY: FIBA

TOP PERFORMERS

Jermain Anderson: 28 Points

Denham Brown: 19 Points

Carl English: 18 Points

MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina-– The Senior Men’s National Team capped off preliminary play at the 2011 FIBA Americas Championship for Men with a thrilling 103-98 loss to Venezuela in overtime. Despite the loss, Canada has sealed their spot in the second phase of the tournament with wins over the Dominican Republic and Cuba.

Heading into the game, Canada had allowed the second lowest amount of points in the tournament, and head coach Leo Rautins understands there were some lapses on defense.

“Obviously it was a tough game,” said Rautins. “One of the things we have been very good at is establishing a defensive game plan. For the first time, we got away from that.”

Denham Brown (Toronto, ON) echoed his coach’s sentiments.

“I felt we got away from what we were trying to accomplish defensively,” said Brown. “They played a really good offensive game, and it turned out in their favour.”

Canada (2-2) shot an impressive 49 percent from the field for the game, but allowed Venezuela (2-2) to shoot 52 percent. Leading the way offensively for Canada was Jermaine Anderson (Toronto, ON), who scored 28 points off the bench. Brown (Toronto, ON) had 19 and Carl English (St. John’s, NL) added 18.

Joel Anthony neared a double-double with nine points and a team-high nine rebounds. Brown also chipped in with six rebounds, while Aaron Doornekamp (Odessa, ON) grabbed five.

“I prepared myself before the game to have a good performance and guarding [Greivis] Vazquez really got me going,” said Brown. “The coaches really put a lot of confidence and trust in me and that’s what got me going tonight.”

The game got out to a great pace, as both teams exchanged baskets in the early going, with English scoring nine of Canada’s first 16 points. Venezuela continued to battle taking a 23-21 lead after the first frame.

The second quarter saw much of the same offensive efficiency from both teams. A scoring flurry by Anderson, who scored 11 points in the quarter, helped Canada take a 35-34 lead at the 2:42 mark. However, Venezuela made a run of their own, and took a narrow 40-38 lead at halftime.

The seesaw battled continued into the third quarter, with Venezuela taking their largest lead of the game of seven halfway through the period. However, back-to-back three-pointers by Anderson and Jevohn Shepherd, followed by a dunk by Shepherd tied the game at 52. Canada would eventually reclaim a one-point lead after three quarters.

In the fourth quarter, Anderson continued to carry the load for Canada hitting two late free-throws to force overtime. In overtime, Anderson scored nine points in the five-minute extra frame, but Venezuela was able to hit key shots and held Canada at bay, en route to their second victory of the tournament.

 Greivis Vazquez led the way offensively for Venezuela with 29 points before fouling out; while Hector Romero added 28. David Cubillan had 10 assists in the victory.

Despite the loss, Rautins is looking forward to the second round of the tournament.

“We have to put this game behind us and now we must look forward to the next four games and get mentally and physically ready to play because every game from now on will be a war.”

Canada now enters the second phase of the tournament, which begins on Monday, September 5, against Argentina.

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