Houston Rockets star Luis Scola had a game-high 22 points Monday as Canada dropped its first second-round game of the FIBA Olympic Americas qualifying tournament, 79-53 to host Argentina.
Argentina leads the eight teams remaining in the tournament with a 4-0 record. Canada fell to 1-3.
Canada lost despite an excellent game from Kelly Olynyk. The native of Kamloops, B.C., had 19 points and a game-high 12 rebounds in his first appearance in the starting lineup.
"We were really pleased that Kelly bounced back with a great game and that we had an opportunity to limit the minutes for our core players," Canada coach Leo Rautins said.
Carlos Delfino added 17 points for Argentina, while Manu Ginobili had 16 points, six rebounds and five assists.
Jevohn Shepherd added 12 points for Canada.
Canada shot just 29 per cent from the floor, compared to 45 per cent for Argentina. Canada also had trouble controlling the ball, committing 22 turnovers compared to Argentina's 12.
Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Brazil also won on a day marred by a serious injury to former Louisville guard Edgar Sosa of Dominican Republic.
With 37.9 seconds left in Dominican Republic's 92-68 victory over Panama, Sosa broke his right led and he is expected to be out for at least six months.
Sosa was injured when he fell among a pack of players under the basket. Players from both teams were near tears as they gathered around him following the fall. Both of his lower right leg bones appeared to have snapped, leaving his leg bent at a grotesque angle.
— Associated Press
Canada's next game is Tuesday against Puerto Rico.
"Knowing the strength of Argentina's veteran roster, tonight's focus was preparation for tomorrow's game against Puerto Rico," Rautins said.
The top-two finishers at the tournament earn automatic berths to the 2012 London Games.
The third- through fifth-place teams 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.
Canada started the game strong, holding their own against the lone undefeated team playing in their home arena, but after the late run, Argentina took a 21-9 first quarter lead.
Canada continued to battle into the second quarter, with Olynyk's fast-break dunk cutting the lead to five halfway through the second quarter. However, Argentina went on a 12-2 run to take a 15 point lead at halftime.
Miami Heat centre Joel Anthony started the third quarter with a basket for Canada, followed by a layup by Carl English which cut Argentina's lead to 11.
Despite two late three-pointers by Andy Rautins, that would be the closest Canada would get in the quarter.
The fourth quarter saw Scola and Andres Nocioni score a combined 20 points for Argentina to keep Canada from making a comeback