By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
A shorthanded Team Bahamas, reduced to just nine players, delivered their best performance and the team’s only win of the FIBA 2019 World Cup Qualifiers.
Buddy Hield and Travis Munnings led five players in double figures with 19 points apiece and the Bahamas escaped with an 83-82 win over the Dominican Republic to close out the third window last night in Santo Domingo, Puerto Rico.
The Sacramento Kings guard shot 6-14 from the field and grabbed eight rebounds. Munnings scored his 19 on 6-12 shooting and also grabbed eight rebounds.
Michael Carey finished with 15 points and a team-high seven assists, Shaquille Cleare scored 11, Kadeem Coleby added nine and Kino Burrows chipped in with six points and a team-high 10 rebounds. Victor Liz led Puerto Rico with a game-high 23 points and Luis Montero scored 12.
Carey’s score put the Bahamas up 83-80 with 32 seconds left to play and the Bahamas survived several mishaps down the stretch including missed free throws and turnovers. Eloy Vargas missed a desperation three as time expired and the Bahamas held on for the one-point win.
The Bahamas led by as much as 13 in the fourth quarter when Jaron Cornish made a three-pointer to give the team a 77-64 lead with 3:57 left to play. Puerto Rico responded with a 16-2 run and took the lead on a Liz layup (80-79) with 54 seconds left to play. Munnings regained the lead for Team Bahamas with a pair of free throws and Carey would score the team’s final points on the ensuing possession.
The Bahamas led 18-14 after the first quarter, 36-32 at the half and 61-56 heading into the fourth quarter.
The win came just days after a devastating loss to the US Virgin Islands that eliminated the team from advancing.
The win over the Dominican Republic was the last of six games in the home-and-away series in Group D of the qualifying tournament for the 2019 World Cup in Russia. It was the Bahamas’ second match-up against the Dominican Republic, having lost the opener 96-63 in their first match-up at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium on Thursday, February 22.
Team Bahamas is coming off their 84-74 loss to the US Virgin Islands on Thursday in San Juan, Puerto Rico, a game that eliminated the country from qualifying for the World Cup.
Prior to last night’s game, the Bahamas was previously winless in the first two windows, losing 93-69 to Canada in Halifax on Friday, November 24, 93-85 to the US Virgin Islands on November 27 at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium, 96-63 to the Dominican Republic on Thursday, February 22 at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium and 113-67 to Canada at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium.