Canada edges Dominican Republic at FIBA Americas

The Canadian Press

9/1/2011 9:47:04 PM

MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina - Andy Rautins scored 15 points on Thursday as Canada edged the Dominican Republic 73-72 at the FIBA Olympic Americas qualifying tournament.

All of Rautins' points came from three-pointers as he went 5-for-8 from beyond the arc. He was not awarded any free throws. He also pulled down two rebounds.

Carl English had 12 points, two assists and three rebounds for Canada, which improved to 1-1 at the tournament. Joel Anthony led the team with 10 rebounds while scoring eight points. Jevohn Shepherd had 10 points and three rebounds off the bench while Cory Joseph had six points and four assists.

"It was a great team win today. Our depth showed and it's going to carry over for the rest of the tournament," Shepherd said.

Jack Martinez led the Dominican Republic with 21 points and 16 rebounds. Al Horford had 17 points, 11 rebounds and three assists, while Francisco Garcia had 12 points and two assists.

The Dominican Republic out-rebounded Canada 45-38.

Canada got out to a quick 19-11 lead in the first quarter, but was tied with the Dominican Republic 30-30 by half.

In the third, Canada out-played the Dominicans, outscoring them 21-14. The Canadians then withstood a fourth quarter rally to win the game.

"I thought it was another very good defensive effort for us," Canadian coach Leo Rautins said. "But we're still not playing 40 minutes of basketball, which is obviously our goal. To be a good team here you have to play 40 minutes."

Canada will play Cuba on Friday. While Leo Rautins said having an early win at the tournament takes some of the pressure off, Canada still needs to play its remaining two round robin games with urgency.

"You certainly wouldn't want to go into the end praying or looking for (a win) .., but on the flipside you can't relax. You need every win you can get here," he said.

Rautins said he will be looking for improved play down the stretch as late lapses hurt Canada in its first two games.

"We just have to make sure that last five minutes we close it out as strong as the first 35," he said.

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 is looking to qualify for the Olympics for the first time since the 2000 Sydney Games.