14 - 20
August 2023
10 Eric Gordon (BAH)
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OPQT's: Bahamas defeat host Argentina to top Group A

LA BANDA (Argentina) – Despite a red-hot start from the host country, Bahamas stormed back to beat Argentina 101-89 and top Group A. 

The islanders relied on their trio of stars (and a masterful performance from their supporting cast) to erase a massive first-quarter lead, clinch the victory and advance to the FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament 2023 Argentina Semi-Finals.

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

Bahamas completes the comeback to win Group A 

Argentina couldn't have drawn up a better start to the game.

With Facundo Campazzo running the show and the shooters draining jumpers from all over the floor, the South Americans quickly jumped to a 33-13 lead as a delirious crowd celebrated.

What came after that left those same fans speechless.

Chris Demarco's team started finding Deandre Ayton in the paint, Eric Gordon and eventually Buddy Hield found their shooting strokes, and the rest was history.

That, combined with a severe shooting drought from Argentina and their troubles scoring inside the arc, was enough to seal the deal despite a late push from the South Americans.

Bahamas shot 55.2 from the field and outscored their opponent 44-36 in the painted area, but it was their defense in the second and third quarters that tipped the scales.

After giving up 37 points in the first 12 minutes, Bahamas held Argentina to just 30 over the next 2 quarters. All while their stars were going off.

Ayton looked unstoppable, finishing with 22 points, 15 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 steals while dominating in the post, doing damage from midrange and walling off Argentina's penetrations on the other end. 

Hield led the outside attack, going 4/10 from downtown to finish with 23 points, while Gordon had a game-high 24 points, including 11-12 at the free-throw line.


And with so much attention placed on the NBA trio, Travis Munnings capitalized by going 8-8 from the field for 20 points as Bahamas ran out to an 18-point advantage of their own. 

The game did turn dramatically down the stretch, as Argentina resumed making shots and cut the deficit to 4 points on a layup from Luca Vildoza with 3:28 to go. However, Ayton, Hield, and Gordon powered one last 9-1 run to put the game away.

Argentina had 5 players scoring in double digits led by Nicolás Brussino's 21 on 5/7 from long distance. Campazzo finished with 18 points, 10 assists, and 7 steals, while Luca Vildoza (15 points), Francisco Cáffaro and Carlos Delfino (10 apiece) also contributed to what was otherwise a solid performance.

It just wasn’t enough for Pablo Prigioni's squad, who now needs to beat Cuba on Thursday to advance to the semifinals and keep their hopes alive of qualifying to one of next summer's FIBA ​​Olympic Qualifying Tournaments. 

Highlight of the day

One could argue that this is where Bahamas won the game.

On the heels of an amazing comeback that saw them erase an 18-point deficit in less than a quarter, Eric Gordon closed the first half with this ankle-breaking crossover and vicious one-handed dunk to put his nation up 55-53, a lead they would never relinquish. 


The 34-year-old guard, who signed with the Phoenix Suns this summer, has provided Bahamas with the exact type of connective tissue the team needed – turning them overnight into the heavy favorites to win the tournament.