Ruben Magnano coached a game that made all of his fellow Argentinians happy.
Problem was, Magnano was coaching Brazil.
Magnano made the curious decision to sit Anderson Varejao for the entire fourth quarter, and Argentina held off a strong fourth-quarter run by Brazil and defeated their South American rivals 82-77 Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the 2012 Olympics.
Magnano, who coached Argentina to a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens but then had a falling out with the national federation, was not solely to blame. Unable to make proper use of their size advantage, the Brazilians played small in the final quarter and were undone throughout the game by their horrific 3-point shooting (5-for-20 through the first 39 minutes) and nearly-as-horrific free throw shooting (12-for-24, with Splitter going 3-for-8.)
Leandro Barbosa and Marcelinho Huertas led Brazil with 22 points apiece, but Alex Garcia committed a key offensive foul when he charged into Manu Ginobili on a fast-break with 52 seconds remaining and Brazil trailing 74-71. (Some might say it was a 50-50 call, but Ginobili appeared to get back and set up his defensive stance cleanly before Garcia ran into him.)
Ginobili, who scored 16 points, made both free throws for a five-point lead.
Argentina scored four points from the foul line in the next 21 seconds to clinch it.
(RELATED CONTENT: Spain defeats flagrant fouling France 66-59.)
Luis Scola led Argentina with 17 points, and Carlos Delfino also had 16. Argentina moves on to a likely semifinal matchup with Team USA, which played Australia in Wednesday’s final quarterfinal game.