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Win over Bermuda keeps Bajans alive

JUSTIN MARVILLE, [email protected]

Win over Bermuda keeps Bajans alive

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Now that’s more like it.

Barbados are still alive for a final four berth, having survived yesterday’s slow start before holding off an undermanned Bermuda side 87-78 for their first win at the FIBA AmeriCup Caribbean Basketball Pre-Qualifier in Suriname.

Trailing by as many as 13 points (23-10), the Bajans finally found the answer by scoring 12 unanswered points at one stage before blowing the game open on the other side of the break via a 25-10 third-quarter run.

It threatened to be one of Barbados’ worst losses at this level considering they were facing a lightweight Bermuda team that was reduced to just six men due to eligibility issues.

But captain courageous Jeremy Gill came to life with three triples to spark a second-half rally that saw the national side drain nine treys over the final 20 minutes.

Centre George Haynes actually got the run started, scoring six quick points to open the half as Barbados cut a 38-31 deficit to just four (44-40) on Andre Lockhart’s three-pointer.

Haynes added another layup right as Gill got in on the act with three long-range bombs in succession that gave the Bajans a 59-51 advantage.

Gill and Lockhart soon went to the bench with their fourth fouls but Zahir Motara, Keefe Birkett and Justin Pile simply picked up where they left off by dropping four treys between them.

Barbados actually went ahead by as many as 12 (73-61) in the fourth quarter after Birkett converted a short jumper and Saeed Norville got free for a huge two-handed slam.

However, Bermuda refused to go away quietly, as Christopher Crumpler went on another personal scoring spree to turn the rout into a close two-possession game.

Pull-up jumpers


Reminiscent of the seventh-place matchup in 2015, Crumpler terrorised Barbados off the dribble yet again for two pull-up jumpers that sandwiched a nifty “and-one” finish at the rim.

Jason Lowe then converted a layup of his own and a long jumper to pull Bermuda within four (79-74) inside the final two minutes.

Thankfully they never got any closer, as Lockhart and Akeem Marsh both converted free throws before Gill threw in an inconsequential triple at the buzzer.

It was nothing like Barbados’ dreadful start to the contest, where they looked downright anaemic offensively while managing a mere eight first-quarter points.

Yet the Bajans were just as awful at the other end in giving up one layup after another to a slashing Crumpler.

Struggling to navigate any pick-and-rolls, Barbados also gifted Lowe a bunch of open three-pointers to fall behind 23-10.

But Marsh quickly went to work against the smaller Bermudans, pounding them on the inside with a variety of hooks, post-ups and short turnarounds.

The overseas-based forward accounted for 12 unanswered points by himself to cut Bermuda’s lead to one (23-22) before Crumpler and Lowe were back at it again.

Marsh refused to let them pull away, though, tipping in a missed shot and scoring on the low blocks to keep Barbados within striking distance (38-31) at the half.

He finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds, Gill added 19 points and Haynes scored 11, while Crumpler led all scorers with 33 points.

Barbados are slated to play Antigua and Barbuda at 5:45 this evening. (JM)