The Salukis, basketball team of the Southern Illinois University, from United States, beat 79-78 (17-12, 22-22, 12-22, 28-22) a squad made up by members of the Cuban national side in the first of three matches to be staged in this city.
Marcus Bartley scored a three-point shot with less than seven seconds to the final whistle, thus defeating the local team shortly after its return with the bronze medal from the 23rd Central American and Caribbean Games of Barranquilla, Colombia.
Without several of their most important men like forwards Jasiel Rivero and Lisvan Valdes, pivot Javier Justiz and point guard Osmel Oliva, the Cuban players were close to provide joy to their fans but Bartley´s three-pointer killed the hopes of the people gathered at Havana´s Sports City Coliseum.
Kavion Pippen with 33 points and Armon Fletcher (16) headed the attack of the visitors, while forward Karel Guzman (15) was the best of the locals.
Barry Hinson, a sixth-season coach of the American institution located in the city of Carbondale, which plays at the Missouri Valley Conference, told ACN that he was satisfied with the result, although he knew that his opponents were still affected by the fatigue of the recent return to the Caribbean island.
Hinson noted that he is very enthusiastic about the visit to "this wonderful country" and added that he was very proud by being part of this exchange experience.
Before the game, the visitors carried out a basketball clinic with children and teenagers from Havana city.