Argentina beats Canada in the men’s Olympic qualifiers
MEXICO CITY, Mexico—Luis Scola had 35 points and 13 rebounds, and Argentina beat Canada 94-87 on Tuesday in the men’s Olympic qualifying tournament.
Scola, a 35-year-old NBA veteran who just signed with Toronto, was 13 for 26 from the field. Nicolas Laprovittola scored 20 points, and Andres Nocioni finished with 15.
Argentina improved to 2-0 in Group B. Puerto Rico (1-1) is second followed by Venezuela (1-0), Cuba (0-2) and Canada (0-1).
The top two teams in the tournament qualify for Rio 2016.
“We already defeated two teams that have the same aspirations to qualify for the Olympics,” Argentina coach Sergio Hernandez said. “We did not have a great start in the second half, but we were playing Canada, a team that to me has the best squad in the tournament.”
Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins each scored 13 points for a Canadian team that features nine NBA players and is one of the favorites to qualify for their first Olympics since Sydney 2000.
“We have to give them credit, they controlled the tempo of the game, and they beat us in every aspect of the game,” Canada coach Jay Triano said. “We committed 13 turnovers and they got 20 points from them. We didn’t defend and we didn’t rebound, you can’t win playing like that.”
Earlier in a Group A game, Michael Hicks scored 21 points to help Panama beat Uruguay 78-71 for its first win of the tournament.
Uruguay (1-1) and Brazil (1-1) share the group lead, followed by Panama (1-0) and Mexico (1-0). The Mexicans got the day off on Tuesday. Dominican Republic (0-2) is last.
Brazil got 17 points from Marquinhos Viera in a 71-65 victory over Dominican Republic. Vitor Benite added 13 points, and Ricardo Fischer and JP Batista had 10 apiece.
Brazil is already qualified for the Olympics as host nation and is using the tournament as preparation for its younger players.
James Feldeine scored 20 points for the Dominicans.
In Tuesday’s final game, Dallas Mavericks point guard J.J. Barea had 19 points and six assists to lead Puerto Rico to a 91-61 victory over Cuba.
Angel Vasallo added 14 points for a Puerto Rico team looking to qualify for their first Olympics since Athens 2004.