Tim Bontemps, ESPNAug 20, 2023, 11:49 PM ET
The Bahamian men’s basketball team, led by Indiana Pacers guard Buddy Hield, Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton and Suns guard Eric Gordon, delivered the country’s biggest victory in the sport Sunday, defeating Argentina 82-75 to win a spot in one of next summer’s qualifying tournaments for the Paris Olympic Games.
The Bahamas, whose head coach is Golden State Warriors assistant Chris DeMarco, outscored Argentina 23-12 in the fourth quarter to pull out the win — the team’s second in five days against the hosts — in front of a feisty home crowd.
“This is something that’s been years in the making,” DeMarco, who has been the team’s coach since 2019, told ESPN in a phone interview. “I’m so proud of our players for focusing on basketball and staying together and the sacrifices they made. I mean, this isn’t easy. This is everyone’s offseason. They’re not coming home. Argentina hosted this thing. We had to beat them on their home court twice. The effort from everyone involved, players, staff, support staff … it’s incredible.
“I have no other words for it.”
The Bahamas has never qualified for men’s basketball in either the Olympics or the FIBA World Cup. But by winning the qualification tournament in Argentina, where the Bahamians defeated Cuba and Argentina in group play before beating Uruguay Saturday ahead of a second win