Argentina ends Canada's undefeated streak and inches closer to the WC
MAR DEL PLATA (Argentina) - After a jittery start where Facundo Campazzo seemed to be their only player capable of finding the bottom of the net, Argentina (8-3) got going and took care of business, defeating Canada 83-72 at Polideportivo Islas Malvinas in Mar del Plata.
Just like he has any time he's suited up for his country during these 2023 FIBA World Cup Americas Qualifiers, Campazzo put on a show, leading his country with 13-point, 10-assist double-double plus 4 rebounds and a pair of steals.
Campazzo scored Argentina's first 9 points of the game as his teammates were slow to warm up and Canada kept finding ways to keep things even.
The North Americans even took an 18-17 lead at the end of the first quarter, instilling some nerves into the raucous home crowd.
But once the rest of Pablo Prigioni's squad got going, the game quickly turned in their favor. Argentina got production from every single member of their bench in the first half, as they outscored their counterparts 20-8 and accounted for exactly half of the team's points.
Canada did what they could behind Kenny Cherry and Thomas Scrubb to stay within striking distance, but the floodgates opened as soon as the second half got underway.
Campazzo went on magician mode, the ball moved at a breathtaking pace, Marcos Delía and Juan Pablo Vaulet started doing damage in the paint and the rest was history.
Argentina opened a 22-point lead (61-39) toward the end of the third quarter, and despite a valiant Canadian effort, they coasted into the final buzzer holding mostly double-digits leads.
Olympic gold medalist Carlos Delfino led the bench attack with 12 points and 5 rebounds and was one of 5 players in double digits, joining Campazzo, Delía (10), Patricio Garino (10) and Nicolás Brussino (13).
Thomas Scrubb paced Canada with 18, while his brother Phil and Cherry added 12 apiece for a team that had 18 turnovers to 11 assists and only shot 40 percent from the field.
Argentina's win (their 9th out of their last 10 games in home soil), allowed them to maintain the status quo in Group E, since Dominican Republic and Venezuela also won on Thursday night. And thanks to Mexican and Puerto Rican victories in Group F, it ensured that all of those teams will have to fight one more battle to determine the remaining nations that will represent the region later this year in Philippines, Japan and Indonesia.
Meanwhile, the already-qualified Canada (10-1) lost after 13 consecutive wins in Qualifiers and missed out on the chance of becoming the first team in the Americas to go through the tournament without defeat.