It was a tough start for The Bahamas senior men’s national basketball team as they were taken down, 99-59, by the host, the United States of America (USA), in their opening game of the second window of the FIBA (International Basketball Federation) AmeriCup 2022 Qualifiers yesterday afternoon at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Playing with an eight-man roster instead of the original 12-man roster, The Bahamas put up a fight but the Americans had the hot hand from the field as they shot 51.4 percent. They were on fire from the break. The Bahamas finished shooting 30.2 percent from the field and experienced some success from deep, as they knocked down six three-pointers in the afternoon while the US was able to knock down 12.
Leading the way for Team Bahamas was Nashad Mackey with 13 points in just over 30 minutes of play. D’Shon Taylor, who played a team-high 33 minutes, finished with 12 points.
Mackey added a team-high six rebounds. Ahmad Pratt had five points and five rebounds off the bench for The Bahamas.
Godfrey Rolle III led the way in the assists department for The Bahamas with five. Taylor added three.
It was a closely contested first quarter as The Bahamas showed some fight against the host nation. A pull up jumper from Taylor from the elbow put The Bahamas on the scoreboard, pulling them to within 3-2 with 9:21 left in the first quarter. A layup from Robert Nortmann kept them close, trailing 6-4, with 6:47 remaining in the opening quarter.
The host country went on a 12-4 scoring run to separate themselves, taking an 18-8 lead with 2:56 remaining in that opening quarter. The quarter ended with the Americans up 24-14.
The second quarter saw the Americans pulling away with some made three-pointers. They exploded for a 29-15 scoring advantage in the quarter to go into the break with a comfortable 53-29 lead.
The short-handed Bahamian squad showed resilience but it was a steep hill to climb as the American team held them to 30 second half points, pulling away to win the game.
The Americans are the defending FIBA AmeriCup Champions.
Team Bahamas was coached by Golden State Warriors Assistant Coach Chris
DeMarco for the first time in a competition. Next up for him and The Bahamas is a key matchup against Puerto Rico today at 4 p.m. at the same location today. With only eight players on the roster, and facing another top 20 ranked nation, The Bahamas will have its work cut out for them. The Bahamas is ranked at number 58 in the FIBA World Rankings. The US is the number one ranked team in the world and Puerto Rico is at number 16.
Puerto Rico played last night against Mexico, but the result of that game was unavailable up to press time.
The Bahamas is playing in Group D in the competition. This was their second loss of the competition after falling short against Mexico in the first window in February. In their last game against Mexico, The Bahamas won at home.
The USA continues to lead the group with three wins and no losses, totaling six points. The Bahamas is in second with four points, up to press time. Mexico sits in third with three points, with last night’s game waiting to be added. Puerto Rico is in fourth position as they were looking for their first win in the group last night.
This window is very different from the first window as teams are in a bubble format in Indianapolis. There are very strict COVID-19 protocols in place. Players and officials had to undergo several COVID-19 tests prior and during competition. During The Bahamas and USA game, coaches and officials wore masks for the entire game.
The Bahamas is set to host group play in the third window of the qualifiers, which is set for February 2021. It will likely be played in a bubble. The Bahamas will play two home games against Puerto Rico and the USA in that window.