ROLLERS FALL TO SPAIN IN FIRST LOSS OF RIO PARALYMPIC CAMPAIGN

ROLLERS FALL TO SPAIN IN FIRST LOSS OF RIO PARALYMPIC CAMPAIGN

The Australian Rollers have missed a chance to secure top position in Group A at the Rio 2016 Paralympics, falling to Spain 64-75 in their penultimate pool stage game.

While the team will not make any excuses, the Rollers were at the tail end of a tough schedule, playing their second game within 16 hours and a fourth since Friday morning.

However, the more pressing concerns for coach Ben Ettridge and the Aussies will be the 15 offensive rebounds they gave up as well as their defence which allowed Spain to shoot 52% from inside the arc.

The Rollers' defensive plan worked early as they allowed the Spanish to shoot any mid-range or long-range shot they wanted.

However, six offensive boards inside the first ten minutes gave Spain enough second chance opportunities to match Shaun Norris' ten points for the quarter.

Jannik Blair (three points, four rebounds) also provided a spark, connecting on a three-point play to help Australia to a 14-0 run and a handy double-digit buffer.

Spain made adjustments coming out of the first break though, looking to eliminate Brad Ness' play-making ability and double-teaming Norris, even off the ball.

The ploy worked well and Spain answered with a 17-6 run of their own, taking the lead halfway through the second period.

Tristan Knowles (a game-high 28 points, 11 rebounds) steadied the ship before half-time, reaching double-figures alongside Norris (17 points, six assists) but Spain owned a two-point lead at the main break.

Looking to cut into that advantage in the third term, Australia were rushed in offence as they attempted a bevy of three's that were unable to connect.

Spain, meanwhile, were methodical with Alejandro Zarzuela (17 points) and Asier Garcia (15 points) keeping the scoreboard ticking over and all of a sudden, the underdogs owned an eight-point lead at the final change.

Continuing to shoot from distance, Knowles was able to finally connect from distance, finishing with 5-7 three-point shooting, and when Norris nailed a long-range bomb of his own, the Rollers looked to be on the charge.

Pablo Zarzuela (17 points) stood in their way though, able to answer any Australian score with a basket of his own, whether it was on the fast-break or with a three-point play and while the Rollers fought until the final siren, time was against them despite the incredible shooting of Knowles.

The full box score can be found here.

While the loss makes it difficult for Australia to now finish on top of Group A, they still have a chance to jump ahead of Spain if they beat Japan in the final game of the group stage.

The Rollers and Japan will tip-off at 2.30am AEST Tuesday.