After losing their first two games at the FIBA Americas quarter final round, San Antonio Spurs rookie Cory Joseph and Team Canada needed to get a win against Uruguay to keep their hopes alive of at least finishing fifth in the tournament to be able to play in the second-chance qualifying tournament next summer that will determine the final three Olympic entries.
The game started out slow, with Canada taking the first quarter 19-17.
The second quarter was a different story, relying on their athleticism and defense, Canada held Uruguay to just 10 second quarter points while scoring 22 points of their own to build a 41-27 lead at the half.
However, Uruguay did not give up easily. They won the third quarter 22-15 to cut the deficit to just seven points, 49-56 entering the fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Uruguay went on to a 9-2 blast that tied the ball game at 58 with 5:12 remaining.
Leandro Garcia Morales gave Uruguay a 61-58 lead on a three-point jumper but Andy Rautins answered with a 3-pointer of his own to tie the game at 61 with 4:36 left.
However, Uruguay proved to be a tough customer, as Gustavo Barrera knocked down another three, to give his team a 64-61 lead.
Uruguay was leading 68-67 and had ball possession with 1:27 left in the game before Canada’s Levon Kendall made the game’s defensive stop; blocking Esteban Batista’s layup attempt.
On the ensuing play, Rautins hit another big 3-point basket that gave Canada a 70-68 lead with just 1:06 left in the game clock.
Kendall sealed the win, with another block on the defensive end, as Team Canada held on for the victory.
Kendall led the Canadians with 19 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks, Rautins added 15 points off the bench while Joseph had two points, two assists, one steal and committed four turnovers in 14 minutes of play.
Morales had 19 points for Uruguay and Martin Osimani added 17 in losing effort.
Joseph and the Canadian national team will go up against Panama on Thursday at 11:30 (GMT -3) in Mar del Plata.