Canada's Olympic basketball hopes still alive
Rautins drains 3-pointer for 70-68 victory over Uruguay
The Canadian men's basketball team's faint Olympic hopes are still alive after Wednesday's 70-68 victory over Uruguay.
Andy Rautins hit a three-pointer in the final minute and Levon Kendall had a clutch block with only seconds left to preserve the win at the FIBA Olympic Americas tournament.
Uruguay heaved a desperation three-point attempt in the dying seconds but Canada's Jevohn Shepherd came down with the rebound.
"Maybe deep down we're all entertainers and we wanted to make things interesting for the people watching at home," Kendall said on a conference call from Mar del Plata, Argentina. "Luckily we were able to make some shots and some big defensive plays down the stretch and that gave us the win.
"Now we've got to take care of business tomorrow and see what happens."
In order to finish fifth and qualify for a second-chance Olympic tournament next summer, Canada needs to beat Panama on Thursday and hope that Uruguay upsets Venezuela.
This week's tournament ends Sunday with the top two teams qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics. The third- through fifth-place teams will play in the qualifier to determine the final three Olympic entries.
Venezuela crushed Panama 110-74 in the other early game Wednesday. Canada and Venezuela have identical 2-4 records but Venezuela owns the tiebreaker by virtue of a win in their head-to-head matchup.
Doornekamp, Joel Anthony sit
Kendall led Canada with 19 points. Canada's Aaron Doornekamp didn't play due to a concussion and fellow centre Joel Anthony sat out with an ankle injury.
Canada, which had a 21-point lead at one point, improved its second-round record to 1-2.
"Seventh game in eight days, you know you've got to get the energy where you can," head coach Leo Rautins said. "Fortunately we were able to get it for the last few plays."
Leandro Garcia Morales led Uruguay with 19 points.
Argentina, Puerto Rico, Brazil and the Dominican Republic have all clinched a spot in the final four, with the pairings to be determined Thursday. The semifinals will be played Saturday and the final is scheduled for Sunday.
The United States has already qualified for the Games after winning the world championship last year.
Canada hasn't qualified for the Olympics since the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney.