Venezuela qualifies Rio Olympics, upsetting Canada
MEXICO CITY (AP) Gregory Vargas made a free throw with 0.3 seconds left after being fouled on an offensive rebound and Venezuela stunned Canada 79-78 on Friday night to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Windi Graterol scored 20 points, and Heissler Guillent added 19 - eight in the final 4 minutes - in the semifinal game to help Venezuela qualify for the Olympics for the first time since Barcelona in 1992.
In the second semifinal, Argentina earned a spot in the Olympics, overcoming an 11-point deficit to beat Mexico 78-70.
With the score tied at 78, Vargas pulled down the offensive rebound and fouled by Aaron Doornekamp. The officials reviewed the play and determined the foul came before the buzzer. Vargas made his first attempt and missed the second on purpose to end the game.
''Canada is a great team, but we thought that a big one can fall. It was David versus Goliath and we came on top, we leave everything out there,'' Venezuela coach Nestor Garcia said. ''This is an historic day for Venezuela. Many people doubted that we were capable of this. I'm proud of this team.''
Kelly Olynyk had 34 points and 13 rebounds for the Canadian team that missed a big opportunity to return to its first Olympics since 2000. Andrew Wiggins had nine points for Canada, which will have another shot next year during the world qualifying tournament.
Venezuela was an after-thought to qualify because of the absence of three starters, among them point guard Greivis Vazquez of the Milwaukee Bucks.
Luis Scola had 18 points and 10 rebounds for Argentina, and Facundo Campazzo added 15 points.
Argentina reached the Olympics for the fourth straight time, advancing with a team featuring only two members of the teams that won the gold medal in 2004 and a bronze in 2008.
Jorge Gutierrez scored 17 points for Mexico.