The Bahamas is a small nation with some big time basketball talent. Phoenix Suns players Deandre Ayton and Eric Gordon and the Indiana Pacers sharpshooter Buddy Hield represented Team Bahamas in the 82-75 win in the Pre-Olympic Qualifying Tournament of the Americas Final over Argentina in their quest to qualify for the Olympics. Ayton finished the game with 10 points on 5-for-14 shooting in 38 minutes. Despite the poor shooting, Ayton snatched 21 rebounds .
The Bahamas, whose head coach is Golden State Warriors assistant Chris DeMarco, outscored Argentina 23-12 in the fourth quarter to pull out the win the team’s second in five days against the hosts in front of a feisty home crowd. The Bahamas has never qualified for men’s basketball in either the Olympics or the FIBA World Cup. But by winning the qualification tournament in Argentina, where the Bahamians defeated Cuba and Argentina in group play before beating Uruguay Saturday ahead of a second win over the hosts Sunday night, they will now have a chance to earn their first-ever trip to the Olympics next summer.
Argentina is one of the world’s great basketball powers. It is the only country besides the United States that’s won a gold medal in men’s basketball since professional players began participating in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, when the Dream Team steamrolled its way to gold. So this is the biggest victory ever for the Bahamas Mens National Team so far.