Shaquille Cleare shoots over US Virgin Islands players at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium.
By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
Team Bahamas finds itself in a 0-2 hole of the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers after they dropped their second consecutive game of the first home-away series.
The visiting US Virgin Islands got the better of the Bahamas in the rivalry once again with their 93-85 win at the Kendal Gymnasium.
Both teams went into Monday night’s game seeking a much needed win after opening round losses on Friday night but a short handed USVI got timely shooting in the fourth quarter to stifle a Bahamas rally late.
Shaquille Cleare and Kino Burrows each finished with 18 points and eight rebounds to lead the Bahamas. David Nesbitt scored nine, LJ Rose finished with nine points and 10 assists, and Michael Bain added nine points.
Jamaal Samuel led USVI with a game high 26 points, Walter Hodge and Giorgio Milligan each finished with 18 and Xavier Richards added 12.
Mike Carey began the comeback trail for the Bahamas when he opened the third quarter with a corner three, only for Hodge to answer with a three of his own on the ensuing possession. A six point USVI lead was cut to three on a Cleare follow but the Bahamas has trouble getting getting defensive stops and containing Hodge and Samuels on the perimeter. USVI maintained a six point lead but a trio of turnovers on consecutive possessions for the Bahamas allowed USVI extend the lead to 10 on a Richards layup. Cleare’s dunk ignited a 6-0 run for the Bahamas and trimmed the deficit 67-63 headed into the fourth.
Rose dished an assist to Livingston Munnings to start the quarter, but USVI answered with scores from Mulligan and Richards. Joseph made a corner three but USVI would answer with a here from Hodge or Samuels for every team Bahamas make to keep them at bay and maintain the advantage.
Able Joseph’s second theee from the corner made it, 83-30 with 3:53 left to play but another Hodge three pointer quickly pushed the lead back to six.. Nesbitt made one from the line, but the teams traded baskets late and The Bahamas couldn’t cut into the deficit
Trailing by five with just over 1:30 left to play USVI forced the Bahamas into a shot clock violation and Hodge would convert two free throws at the opposite end to put the game away.
Both teams shot nearly 58 percent from the field but the Bahamas again struggled from three point range at 12.5 percent, while the USVI shot 40 percent. USVI also outscored the Bahamas 52-36 in the paint.
Carey made the opening jumper and Cleare scored the three field goals, fornhe Bahamas.His dunk off a powerful drop step energized the crowd, but Hodge came right back with the score. The, Bahamas surrendered several easy scores from, miscommunication on defence. Nesbitt scored six of the bench and his jump hook to cut the lead to two, 18-16. USVI took a 21-16 lead after one.
Bain scored a fastbreak layup, and Cleare added a jump hook to start the quarter on a positive note for team Bahamas. Cleare made a pair of free throws to give the Bahamas their first lead since the opening possession and Rose made a layup to cap the 8-0 run. Mulligan converted a three point play for USVI to respond. USVI regained lead when Samuels made three and Nesbitt answered with a three pointer and follow on a fast break for a 34-30 lead. USVI took a 40-39 lead on Richards’ free throws and they took a 46-41 lead into the half.
The next window takes place February 22nd when the Bahamas hosts the Dominican Republic, followed by a February 25th matchup at home against Canada. Their final two games will be on the road June 29th in the USVI and July 2 in the Dominican Republic.