By Carlos RodriGuez
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
MEXICO CITY _ Luis Scola and Nicolas Laprovittola scored 11 points to lead Argentina to a 96-64 rout of Cuba on Thursday in the Olympic qualifier.
Argentina will be joined in the second by Canada, which also won easily with an 82-62 rout of Venezuela. Argentina (3-0) leads Group B with six points followed by Canada (2-1) and Venezuela (2-1) with five. Puerto Rico (1-2) has four with one game remaining and Cuba (0-4) finished with four.
Cuba held the lead several times in a sluggish first-half for Argentina, which used a 26-4 run in the third quarter to take control of the game.
“We played without concentration, we lacked the attitude of a professional team in the first-half,” said Argentina*s coach Sergio Hernandez.
Andres Nocioni added 10 points and 13 rebounds in 21 minutes for Argentina. Jasiel Rivero scored 25 points for the Cubans.
Nik Stauskas led a balanced Canadian offence that featured all five starters in double digits to beat Venezuela. Kelly Olynyk added 14, Andrew Wiggins 13 while Cory Joseph and Anthony Bennett combined for 10 each.
Bennett also grabbed 10 rebounds.
Canada, trying to qualify for their first Olympics since Sydney 2000, will finish the first round Friday against Puerto Rico.
In the final game of the day, Paul Stoll scored 18 points, hitting six 3-pointers, and Gustavo Ayon added 16 points with 11 rebounds for Mexico, trying to qualify for their first Olympic games since Montreal 1976.