Nicaragua and Costa Rica pick up key victories in fourth day of FIBA Basketball World Cup Pre Qualifiers
SAN SALVADOR (El Salvador) - Nicaragua (3-0) and Costa Rica (2-1) added key triumphs on the fourth day of the FIBA World Cup Central America and the Caribbean Pre-Qualifiers 2023.
Nicaragua won 89-82 over El Salvador (1-2), after recovering from a 19 point deficit in the first half. The local team, driven by the support of the fans, started strong with 11 three-pointers, and set the score 55-37 in their favor.
But things took a turn in the second half, and Nicaragua made the adjustments they needed on defense to return to the charge. Nicaragua took the lead with 6:13 remaining in the fourth quarter thanks to Francisco Garth, which put the scoreboard 72-71. They maintained momentum and put the score at 83-76, with 1:49 left to play.
A three-pointer by Alejandro Arias gave El Salvador hope as they reduced the gap 83-80, with 1:16 minutes left. Nicaragua finished strong with six free throws and their defense did not allow more open shots from the three point line to drive home the win.
Jared Ruiz, who for the third consecutive game led the team, had a lot to do with the comeback, with 25 points (19 in the second half), 9 rebounds, 8 assists and 5 steals. Garth and Norchad Omier followed with 13 points each.
For the Salvadorans, Roberto Martínez finished with 25 points and 6 three-pointers, in the first 20 minutes he scored 17 going 5-5 behind the arc. Alejandro Arias and José Araujo added 12 points each.
Costa Rica 78, Guyana 75
Costa Rica held off Guyana’s final quarter push as they entered the fourth losing by 10 (66-56), and quickly tied it at 66 just after two minutes.
Costa Rica once again recovered the lead and had the game 77-69, with 4:05 minutes left on the clock. Guyana challenged with a three-pointer from Delroy James, which brought them closer 77-75, with 2:11 remaining for the end . But in that effort, Guyana ran out of fuel and couldn't score any more. Credit also goes to the winners who made three consecutive defensive stops to secure the result.
Forward Daniel Shedden led Costa Rica with 19 points (4 three-pointers), while Martinez added 14. James, with 29 points and 12 rebounds, was the most prominent for Guyana, followed by Stanton Rose with 16 and 9 boards.
On the last day of action this Monday, Nicaragua will meet Costa Rica (4:00 p.m. local time) and Jamaica will go against El Salvador (7:00 p.m.), to solidify the three teams that will advance to the second round of the FIBA World Cup Pre-Qualifiers 2023, to be held in July.