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(SNO) – Saint Lucia lost their second game in the 2021 FIBA Americup Pre-qualifier on Tuesday, falling 69-73 to Windward Islands neighbour, Grenada.
The tournament is being played at the Anthony Nesty Sporthal in the Surinamese capital of Paramaribo.
Both teams had previously lost to the host nation, Saint Lucia by 19 on Sunday, and Grenada in a heartbreaker, going down by two points in the dying minutes on Monday night. Just a few hours later, they were back in action against Saint Lucia.
The national team lined up with Marcian Calderon at centre, USA-based big Joel Polius, Keegan Preville and Ron Dumurville at the wings, and former USA collegiate guard Yandell Denis rounding out the lineup.
Saint Lucia opened with a 10-0 run, establishing the bigs early. Former Canadian collegian John Paul replaced Calderon, and both got early points in the paint. But Grenada would not go down easily.
The Grenadians took their first lead at 14-13, but Saint Lucia not only retook it at once, they would extend it through Denis and Dumurville’s big shot to go the first quarter break at 23-14.
Saint Lucia went up by as many as 12, 26-14. Again, Grenada got within one, but again, this time through a combination of Polius and Denis, Saint Lucia went into the halftime interval up 39-31.
The teams were tied at 41 halfway through the third quarter, but yet again Saint Lucia would pull away. But Saint Lucia found themselves unable to respond when Grenada took the lead at 63-62 with five minutes remaining in the final stanza.
Denis led all scorers again, with an efficient 18 points (7/14 from the field), seven rebounds and six assists. Paul added 11 points (5/8) with a team-high eight rebounds. Dumurville chipped in with 11, but on 4/14 shooting.
For Grenada, Kevin Cox led four players in double figures.
Saint Lucia again outrebounded their opposition, 52 to 45. They also shot far more efficiently, 46.77% to 36.99%. Again, though, Saint Lucia was careless with the ball, giving up 23 turnovers to 13 for Grenada. Grenada was also marginally better from behind the three-point arc, and converted as many free throws (13) as Saint Lucia attempted.
Next up for Saint Lucia in Group A is a Wednesday afternoon tilt against St. Vincent and the Grenadines.