Canada loses opener to Brazil at FIBA Americas tournament

The Canadian Press

8/31/2011 10:34:17 PM

MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina -- Marcelo Huertas scored a game-high 17 points and Brazil downed Canada 69-57 Wednesday in the opening game of the FIBA Americas Olympic qualifying tournament for both teams.

Huertas shot 66.7 per cent from the floor and added six assists. Brazil had four players with 12 points or more, while no Canadian scored in double digits.

Jermaine Anderson led Canada with nine points while Aaron Doornekamp and Cory Joseph each added eight. Miami Heat centre Joel Anthony added nine rebounds.

"We knew coming in that it was going to be a tough game against Brazil," said Anderson. "We know they play very physical, like to run a lot of pick and rolls."

Brazil outrebounded Canada 40-37 and shot 44.8 per cent as a team, compared to Canada's disappointing 32.8 per cent.

"Generally speaking, throughout this game, we did a pretty good job on the glass," said head coach Leo Rautins. "I mean, Brazil only had three offensive rebounds, they had none at half time."

Rautins believes Canada's poor shooting inflated Brazil's rebounding numbers.

"We missed a lot of shots early. I think we started the beginning of the game 4-of-17," said Rautins. "Even though Brazil had a slight edge on the glass that was really largely because we just missed a lot of shots so they got defensive rebounds."

Canada opened a 17-12 lead in the first quarter, but Brazil outscored Canada 21-11 in the second quarter to take a 33-28 lead at the half. Canada pulled to within a point after three quarters, but Brazil thumped Canada 22-11 in the fourth to put the game away.

"Quite frankly, in the first half our defence was tremendous except when we took quick shots or rushed shots we gave up like 12, 13, points on transition baskets the other way," said Rautins. "A lot of that came from our offence.

"We can't do that. We can't put ourselves in that situation."

The Canadians are looking for their first Olympic appearance since the 2000 Sydney Games. The first two finishers at the tournament earn automatic berths to the 2012 London Games, while the third- through fifth-place finishers will play in a second-chance qualifying tournament next summer to determine the final three Olympic entries.

Canada's next game is Thursday against the Dominican Republic.