Fadi El Khatib , known to his countrymen as “The Tiger, scored 31 points and Rony Fahed added 17 as Lebanon beat Canada 81-71 Saturday in the opening round of the basketball world championshipsin in Izmir, Turkey on Saturday Aug. 28, 2010.
In the third quarter, the 6-foot-6 El Khatib scored 16 points, making all five field goal attempts and three free throw attempts.
“It was a very tough very tough game,” Fahed said. “Both teams were playing very physical.”
Matt Freije(notes) nailed a 3-pointer to put Lebanon up 66-64 with about 5 minutes left, and Canada never led again.
“For our team to be successful, we cannot be out-hustled in a game,” Canada coach Leo Rautins said.
Joel Anthony(notes) of the Miami Heat scored 10 of 17 points for Canada in the first half. Denham Brown added 13 points and 6 assists.
Lebanon, which is making its third consecutive worlds appearance, shot 21 more free throw attempts than Canada.
Canada hadn’t qualified for a major tournament since finishing 13th at the 2002 worlds in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Lebanon’s next Group D opponent is France. Canada plays Lithuania, which beat New Zealand in its opener. AP