NASSAU, Bahamas, CMC – Reigning champions Jamaica lost their final group match against the United States Virgin Islands 86-61 on Wednesday – but still advanced, along with their opponents to the semi-finals of the Caribbean Men’s Basketball Championship.
Both sides entered the contest unbeaten, but strong second and final quarters propelled the USVI to the victory, setting up a semi-final with the British Virgin Islands, while the Jamaicans will face unbeaten hosts the Bahamas.
Jamaica emerged from an evenly-match first quarter with a 22-21 lead, but the USVI took control of the game in the second period, leading 44-35 at halftime.
The USVI extended their lead in the third period, and Jamaica could find no way back in the final quarter, when the Virgin Islanders exploded offensively.
Victor Cuthbert led the balanced offensive attack from the USVI with 25 points, six rebounds, five assists, and six steals. Three of his teammates also scored in double figures.
Patrick Ewing Jr, son of the NBA legend of the same name, scored 15 points with seven rebounds for Jamaica.
The BVI had booked their place in the preceding contest, when they continued their great run in the tournament with a 71-63 victory over St. Vincent & the Grenadines.
The BVI had solid scoring in the first and third quarter before SVG came back with in the final period to close the margin – but it just wasn’t enough.
Rashid Caan led the way for the BVI with 21 points, and Kennedy Bass scored 15, but SVG’s Randolph Williams continued his hot scoring streak with a game-leading 23 points to maintain his status as top scorer of the tournament.
In the first game of the day, a huge second half gave Antigua their second victory of the tournament, when they nailed Guyana 76-51.
Lennox McCoy scored 16 points to lead the winning team, while his teammates, Wayne Walker and Julius Hodge both scored 15 points.
For Guyana, Keron McKenzie sunk 21 points to lead the game.
In the day’s other game, Bermuda grabbed their third win of the tournament, when they stopped Cayman Islands 54-48.
Cayman Islands started strongly, but following a close 10-9 second quarter, the Bermudians came back with a strong second half to seal the game.
Jason Lowe led the winning team with 18 points, while Jorge Ebanks scored 13 for Caymans.