Facing a 15-point fourth quarter deficit, San Antonio Spurs rookie Cory Joseph and the Canadian national team staged a comeback attempt, outscoring Puerto Rico 27–17 in the final quarter, but came up short.
The game started out close, both teams exchanged baskets throughout the first quarter that ended with Puerto Rico up by just one-point 22-21.
In the second quarter, Puerto Rico went on to a 9-2 run which helped propel them to a 42-29 lead heading into halftime. The Canadians dug themselves into a hole after scoring just eight points in the entire second quarter.
During the second half, Carl English tried to bring Canada back in the game, scoring eight third quarter points, but Puerto Rico continued to score from the outside and stretched their lead to 15 points going into the final quarter.
Canada began their comeback early in the fourth quarter, going on an 11–2 run to cut the lead to six points led by Denham Brown, Joseph and Kelly Olynyk.
Team Canada was able to tie the game at 67 with 2:17 remaining on Aaron Doornekamp’s 3-pointer.
However, five straight points by Boston Celtics’ Carlos Arroyo put Puerto Rico up 72-67 with under a minute to play.
Andy Rautins hit a three-pointer to pull the Canadian’s with two, but that was the closest they get as Puerto Rico hold onto a 79-74 victory.
Rautins led Canada with 18 points, English scored 13 points, while Levon Kendall added 10.
For the first time in the tournament, Joseph did not start at point guard for Canada. He finished with two points, three rebounds, one assists and a turnover while shooting 1-of-5 from the field in 14 minutes of action.
Arroyo led the way for Puerto Rico with a game-high 26 points while Dallas Mavericks’ Juan Jose Barea added 11.
With the loss, Team Canada drops to 0-2 in the second round of the FIBA Americas Championship while Puerto Rico improves to 2-0.
Joseph and Canada will look to bounce back tomorrow against Uruguay at 11:30 (GMT -3) in Mar del Plata.