Canada will have to settle for international experience instead of a berth at the 2014 Basketball World Cup.
The men’s team lost 73-67 to Argentina at the FIBA Americas Championship on Sunday, ruining Canada’s chances of qualifying for one of two spots at the World Cup.
For head coach Jay Triano, Canada’s downfall was in his young team’s relative inexperience at the international level.
Watch: Argentina eliminates Canada from FIBA Americas
“Our three best players are 22, 22 and 23 years old,” said Triano, referencing Cory Joseph, Tristan Thompson and Andrew Nicholson. “We’re going up against men who have played this game for a long time and have played at a high level for a long time.
“That’s why we’re here. We’re here to get the experience and play against these guys so when we’re that age, we can compete at the same level and understand the game that much better.”
Joseph had 19 points for Canada (3-4) in a losing effort, while Nicholson added 17 of his own. Thompson finished with eight points and 10 rebounds.
Luis Scola had 28 points and seven rebounds for Argentina while Selem Safar added 18 points off the bench. Facundo Campazzo chipped in with 10 points and eight assists.
Canada led 36-32 at halftime, but Argentina stormed out of the gate in the third quarter and led 61-56 heading to the fourth quarter.
Despite the elimination loss, Triano said Canada’s play at the tournament bodes well for the future of the national program.
“We didn’t come here thinking we were just going to get experience, we came here hoping to win. It didn’t happen but the experience was gained,” Triano said.
“The future is still bright and I hope the rest of Canada continues to back these guys and not turn on them because we didn’t qualify for the world championships.”
Canada had four NBA players on its roster at the tournament. Nicholson plays for the Orlando Magic, Joseph is with the San Antonio Spurs, Thompson is a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers and centre Joel Anthony is on the Miami Heat.