HANGTIME: Bahamas men’s national team eventually lost down the stretch to the Dominican Republic 87-80 on day three of the CentroBasket Tournament in Panama.
By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
After getting blown out in the first half, the Bahamas men's national team regained their composure in the second half and cut the deficit to two before eventually losing down the stretch to the Dominican Republic 87-80 on day three of the CentroBasket Tournament in Panama.
The Bahamas, who fell behind by as much as 18, never led in Tuesday's game to drop their win-loss record to 1-2 in the week-long tournament.
The Dominican Republic, who remained undefeated in two games, opened the first quarter on a 23-17 spurt and extended their lead to 43-36 at the half.
A 23-18 surge in the third pushed their margin to 66-54 going into the final period.
That was when the Bahamas started to turn things around, opening the period on a three-pointer from David Nesbitt to trim the lead to 66-57. Using a 5-1 span, highlighted by another basket from Nesbitt and a lay-up from Jean 'Rony' Cadot, the Bahamas trimmed the lead to 67-62, only to watch as the Dominican Republic went back up 71-62.
The Bahamas used another surge as high school sensation, 7-foot centre DeAndre Ayton, came alive offensively with his first six points to help cut the deficit down to two (73-71) with about three and-a-half minutes left. They kept it close as Taran Cox converted a pair of free throws to make it 75-73. Once again, Cox kept the Bahamas within two as he scored on a goal-tending basket with 2:55 on the clock.
But from there, it was all the Dominican Republic as they went on a mini 4-0 spurt to push their lead to six (79-73) before Leon Cooper scored on a jumper to bring the Bahamas within four (79-75) with 2:18 left. Another jumper by Cox at 1:41 trimmed the lead back to two, 79-77.
The Dominican Republic went on another 4-0 spurt to go up 83-77. The Bahamas got a free throw from Michael Carey with 48 seconds for a 83-78 deficit. The Bahamas had a couple of chances in the winding seconds to put another dent into the lead, including an attempted three-pointer from Able Joseph, but the Dominican Republic managed to held on for the win.
Before he fouled out, David Nesbitt led the Bahamas with 18 points and five rebounds. Leon Cooper also fouled out, but left with 16 points and Tehran Cox, the only other player in double figures, also fouled out, scoring 14 points with four rebounds and six turnovers. Ayton stepped up big defensively with 15 rebounds and three blocks, while finishing with nine points, all coming in the fourth quarter.
The Bahamas, coached by Mario Bowleg, Norris Bain, Kevin 'KJ' Johnson and Wayde Watson, now sits in third place in Group B behind Mexico and the Dominican Republic, who will meet in a match-up of the undefeated today. The Bahamas will have the day of and will close out play in the round robin on Thursday against Mexico.
The Bahamas lost its opener 82-74 to the British Virgin Islands on day one of the tournament on Sunday, but bounced back to rout Costa Rica 82-58 on Monday.