14 - 20
August 2023
10 Eric Gordon (BAH)
to read

Bahamas, Argentina set up rematch with Semis wins

LA BANDA (Argentina) - Argentina and Bahamas justified their labels as the tournament's most dangerous teams and secured their spots in the FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament 2023 Argentina final.

These 2 squads, who already played each other on Wednesday in Group A, will go head-to-head on Sunday looking to clinch a spot in one of next year's FIBA ​​Olympic Qualifying Tournaments.

Here's a look at what transpired Saturday at Estadio Ciudad in Santiago del Estero, Argentina:

Argentina ends Chile's unbeaten streak to advance to the final

The host country will play in Sunday's final after defeating Chile, 87-79, in the first semifinal.

Argentina played a solid all-around game, shooting 48.4 percent from the field and notching 24 assists on 30 made baskets.

Facundo Campazzo was instrumental in running the show with a 19-point, 12-assist double-double to lead his team to victory. 

And once again he had plenty of help despite losing Luca Vildoza 3 minutes into the action with an injury. Argentina had 5 different players scoring in double digits, with Gabriel Deck finally breaking out of his slump for a 24-point performance.

The Real Madrid forward went 7-11 from the field, 3-4 from beyond the arc and 7-8 at the charity stripe and added 5 rebounds. 

All in all, it was a very businesslike showing by the home team, as they always managed to keep Chile at bay by controlling the paint and limiting second-chance opportunities.

Argentina held their opponent to just 40 percent from the field and only big man Nicolás Carvacho was able to do any damage on the inside. The 26-year-old center finished with 23 points on 10-17 from the field.

Guard Sebastián Herrera caught fire late in the game as Chile furiously tried to catch up and finished with 17 points.

However, the closest they got was 6 points with 56 seconds left in regulation. Herrera missed a three-pointer that would've made it a single-possession game with 21 seconds until the final buzzer before Campazzo put it away with a pair of free throws. 

Argentina controlled the tempo and was better at every facet of the game, winning the rebounding battle (38-30) and doing most of its damage in transition (20-1 on fast break points).

Despite the disappointment, Chile proved they're here to stay. This young roster led by Carvacho, Herrera, Felipe Haase (10 points and 4 rebounds) and dangerous shooters like Ignacio Varela and Alejandro Vergara showed they're ready to compete consistently at the continental level. 

Bahamas handles Uruguay to set up clash with Argentina

Bahamas took care of business, handing Uruguay a 78-62 loss to advance to the tournament's final.

Chris Demarco's squad didn't even require its A-game, leading wire-to-wire without any of their 3 stars playing more than 28 minutes.

This time around, the islanders did their best work on the defensive end, holding Uruguay to just 36.2 percent from the field. Bahamas led 43-23 at the half and extended their advantage to as much as 28 points in the third quarter before lifting their foot off the gas down the stretch.

Buddy Hield scored 17 points on 7-15 from the field while Eric Gordon has 13 in just 21 minutes. 

Deandre Ayton didn’t even break double digits, finishing the night with 8 points and 9 rebounds.

The game got a little testy in the 4th quarter when Uruguay cut the deficit all the way down to 12 points. Gonzalo Iglesias was instrumental in that run, finishing with 20 points on 6-9 from downtown. However, he was Uruguay's only player in double digits, and he accounted for two thirds of his team's long-range buckets.

Bernardo Barrera (9 points) and Nicola Pomoli (8 points) were next on the stat sheet, but Uruguay was always going to have a hard time on a night where Joaquín Rodríguez, Emiliano Serres and Martín Rojas combined for just 10 points on 4-18 from the field.

The win put Bahamas once again on a collision course with Argentina, a team they beat comfortably on Wednesday after erasing an 18-point deficit. The winner gets to keep their Olympic hopes alive.

Highlight of the day

When Campazzo is on fire, few players in the continent can put on such a show.

The speedy point guard was, once again, his country's best player and the engine of an Argentinian offense that can look unstoppable when it's on the break. 

In this sequence, Campazzo got the steal, drove in transition and dropped the no-look dime to a streaking Francisco Cáffaro for the dunk: