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J.J Barea And Puerto Rico hand Canada opening loss At 2013 Tuto Marchand Continental Cup
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San Juan, Puerto Rico - (BasketballBuzz) - Veteran international guard J.J Barea torched Canada for 15 first quarter points on his way to a game-high 23 points and eight assists as Puerto Rico handed Canada a hard fought 78-71 defeat to kick off the 2013 Tuto Marchand Continental Cup.

Canadian forward Andrew Nicholson (Mississauga, Ont.) put Canada on his back scoring 12 of his team high 21 points in the third-quarter to rally Canada back from 40-30 halftime deficit and cut the lead to 56-53 as the game headed into the final quarter.

Puerto Rico held Canada scoreless until the 7:45 mark by forcing three straight turnovers to open the fourth quarter and quickly restored a comfortable double digit lead that stretched to 14 points at 69-55 with under five minutes left in the game.

Nicholson went to work in the interior via his patent hook shot and further frustrated the Puerto Rican front court by stepping out and drilling 2-of-3 three-pointers. Brampton, Ont. native Tristan Thompson added his first double-double in three games with the National team finishing with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Andy Rautins added 9 points and two rebounds but turnover the ball over four times. Cory Joseph showed flashes on the offensive with 6 points, four assists and two rebounds but struggle to contain the crafty Barrea who averaged 11 points and four assist for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Puerto Rico hurt Canada inside with 36-26 advantage in points score in the paint and made Canada pay by capitalizing off and scoring 12 points off 14 Canadian turnovers. Joel Anthony (4 points, 6 rebounds) helped Canada outrebound their opponents for the third straight game with a 37-31 margin.

Canada will regroup and play Argentina next and has games against the Dominican Republic and Brazil to come in the five-day long tournament. The 2013 Tuto Marchand Continental Cup now in its fourth year is played every two years and serves as springboard for the FIBA Americas Championships where Canada will face Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Brazil and Uruguay in the preliminary round.

Game Notes
Head Coach Jay Triano opted not to play starting guard Jevohn Shepherd and rested Jermaine Anderson and Levon Kendall. Canada still has to trim its roster down to the 12 players who will represent the country at the FIBA Americas.
 

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