All three of the Magic's players will be headed home from their respective regional qualifying tournaments coming up short of their goals. Canada, Montenegro and Turkey will not be heading to the FIBA World Cup unless FIBA extends one of the four Wild Card spots. For all three teams, this is a major disappointment.
None moreso than Canada, perhaps.
Canada was in the driver's seat for a spot in the World Cup before a three-game losing streak cut those dreams dramatically short. Canada wrapped up the FIBA Americas Championship with an expected loss to Argentina, 73-67.
What was unexpected, of course, was that Argentina needed the win itself to qualify for the FIBA World Cup next summer.
Argentina took care of business with a 29-20 third quarter to take the lead and hold off Canada in a defensive-minded fourth quarter. This was the result everyone expected in the end. Argentina is widely considered the best team in the region at the tournament even without Manu Ginobili playing. Losses in the second round were shocking and set up this do or die game for both Argentina and Canada.
The young Canada squad possibly did not have the experience to withstand its offensive struggles in the second half.
Canada shot 39.4 percent from the floor. Despite a 10-2 advantage on the offensive glass, Canada was unable to generate enough points, scoring just 11 points in the final quarter.
Andrew Nicholson had his own shooting troubles. He scored 17 points but shot 8 for 20 from the floor. Sharpshooter Andy Rautins was an icy 1 for 7 from the floor. Cory Joseph scored 19 points on 7-for-16 shooting. It was just not Canada's day.
It did seem to be Montenegro's day in Slovenia.
Montenegro took perennial Eurobasket favorites Lithuania to overtime in their must-win game to stay in contention for a spot in the next round. Montenegro has had some heartbreakers in this tournament. They won their first game by one point, lost their next game by a single point and their third game was decided by six points and came down to the end.
Montenegro has been on the wrong end of plenty of close games in the past week. This was another one, unfortunately, as Lithuana squeezed out a 77-70 win.
Tyrese Rice was again the star for Montenegro with 19 points including the game-tying 3-pointer with 10 seconds left. That was about all the offense Montenegro could muster before overtime. Lithuania controlled the overtime period.
NIkola Vucevic played 13 minutes, scoring eight points on 3-for-7 shooting and grabbing five rebounds. In this tournament, we really did not get to see Vucevic much or see anything new added to his game as Montenegro relegated him to bench player. Vucevic was not a featured part of the offense in any way.
Turkey recorded its first win of Eurobasket with an 87-74. However, Finland's 86-83 win over Russia earlier in the day eliminated Turkey from second round contention.
Turkey had a massive second quarter run to take control of the game and held on for the win. A positive step forward for a young Turkey squad.
Hedo Turkoglu did not play for Turkey in this game.
Canada's tournament is done with the completion of the second round today. The semifinals take place Sept. 10 in Caracas. Montenegro will complete its tournament against Serbia on Monday. Turkey wraps up its Eurobasket play with a game against Russia on Monday.