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7 Buddy Hield (BAH)
Game Report
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Bahamas say goodbye to the Qualifiers with a surprising win in the Dominican Republic

SANTO DOMINGO (FIBA Basketball World Cup Americas Qualifiers 2019) — Bahamas didn't want to leave with their hands empty and achieved a surprising victory against a Dominican Republic that left many doubts on the table in the first stage of the FIBA Basketball World Cup Americas Qualifiers 2019.

Against all odds and without any chance of moving on to another phase, Bahamas said goodbye to the Qualifiers with their first victory after surprising, 83-82, the Dominican Republic at Palacio de los Deportes Virgilio Travieso Soto in the capital of Santo Domingo, during the conclusion of the first round of the Americas’ Group D.

Like this, the Bahamas, that were in the advantage practically the whole game, ended their participation in the windows 1-5 and gave a very hard defeat to the Dominicans (4-2). The Dominican Republic had sweeped the wins in the first two windows but fell in their two matches in the summer edition, which leaves them in the fourth position of what will be known as Group F when the Qualifiers begin again in September.

Buddy Hield and Travis Munnings led the Bahamas with 10 points and eight rebounds each. Michael Carey aded 15 points with seven assists; Shaquille Cleare made 11 more; and Kadeem Coleby achieved 10.

As for Dominicana, Víctor Liz was the most outstanding, with 23 points; followed by Luis Montero’s 12 and 10 by Rigoberto Mendoza.

Bahamas managed a 10-point lead during the third quarter, but the Dominicans closed the difference, 61-56, when the final segment began.

In an uphill battle, 79-66, the Dominican Republic tried to get back in the game and with a 2-pointer by Liz they shortened the distance, 79-73. After several possessions with no goals, the Dominicans put some pressure in with the help of the fans getting in the game, thanks to a shot by Mendoza that heightened hostilities, 79-75, with 1:29 of action —in what prepared spectators for one of the best finales seen in the Qualifiers.

The defensive pressure by the Dominican Republic caused several mistakes in the inbound passes by the Bahamas and with a steal and 2-pointer by Liz, the team achieved their first advantage in the game, 80-79, with 1:01 in the clock.

Bahamas returned to the lead with two free throws by Munnings. Next, Elvis Solano missed two free throws and in the next possession, Bahamas worked the ball until it reached Carey’s hands, who scored a floater to silence the Palace, 83-80, with 32.5 seconds left.

The Dominicans requested a time out but couldn't get back at it, and Jaraun Burrows missed two free throws.

Later, Luis Montero cut the distance to one point, 83-82, with two free throws. The Dominican defense attacked once again and caused Hield to lose tha ball with 12 seconds left.

Then, Vargas tried to score a failed shot by Liz and the ball went out of bounds. The officials had to see the repetition to know whose possession was it, with only 2.7 left to play.

The ball continued to be in the Dominicans’ hands, but Vargas failed a 3-pointer. The public was perplexed, but the young Bahamian National Team started to celebrate.

Bahamas didn't wish to be an easy prey in the first half. Munnings portrayed effectiveness and scored 15 points in the first 20 minutes; leaving the visiting team in control, 38-34.

The first half was full of poor offensive executions by both teams. Bahamas threw a mere 32.4% in field goals, including a 15.4% from the 3-point area. The Dominicans weren't far behind, with a 32.6% effectiveness rate.

A 2-pointer by Hield gave Bahamas the lead, 4-2, which they kept until the last minute of the game. The Bahamians achieved a seven-point advantage, 18-11, in the first segment. In the second, Dominicana closed in, 32-28, with a 3-pointer by Liz, but the locals never were a threat to the visiting team’s leadership.

“This FIBA game is different, playing in the NBA means nothing here, I have to go out and play hard, trust my teammates and be well prepared mentally,” said Buddy Hield after the game.