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Dominant Russian Performance Ends Canada’s 2013 FISU Gold Medal Hopes

Canada’s dream of a FISU Gold Medal halted by dominant Russian performance.

Kazan, Russia – (BasketballBuzz) – It took a dominant performance of all proportions to end Canada’s unbeaten run at the 2013 World University Games in Kazan, Russia.

Playing behind an energized and animated home crowd, Team Russia jumped all-over the Canadian University/Development Men’s National Team by outplaying their opponents to a 22-11 first-quarter lead and never looked back on their way to earning a well deserved 78-68 victory, and a trip to the men’s basketball finals of the 27th Summer Universiade Games.

Russia had five players in double figures and were led by Cleveland Cavaliers first-round (19th overall) draft pick Sergey Karasev who finished with a near triple-double of 20 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 steals. Antonov Semen added 11 points, 6 rebounds, two blocked shots and 6’6 point guard Dmitrii Kulagin (8 points, 6 assists) caused all kinds of match-up problems for the Canadian back-court with his size, ability to penetrate and find open shooters.

Canadian national team Head coach Jay Triano experimented with his line-up by going big and using a combination of Carleton Ravens duo of Phillip Scrubb (6’4″), brother Thomas Scrubb (6’7″) and Gonzaga’s Kevin Pangos (6’2″) at the point guard position to try and limit Kulagin’s ability to pass over the defense.

The decision to go big paid off with Canada winning the physical rebounding war 43-37 but also proved costly with Russia feasting off of Canada’s rushed offense and mistakes to score 25 points from 23 turnovers (14 in the first-half) compared to just 13 turnovers from Russia.

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Canada was led by a trio of players with Daniel Mullings (12 points, 7 rebounds), Melvin Ejim (12 points, 3 rebounds) and Brady Heslip (12 points, 4/6 3-pointers) all reaching double-figures.

Russia dominated the game for the first three-quarters, led from start to finish, including a game-high 26 point lead towards the end of the third quarter and shot an unreal 22-for-36 from the field (60%).

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Canada desperately tried to cut into the large lead with an athletic line-up in the fourth quarter by outscoring Russia 24-14 boasting their field goal percentage to 42% on 15-of-36 shots.

Canada had the chance to put some pressure on the Russians but a missed dunk by Toronto’s Dwight Powell (2 points, 3 assists, 5 fouls) and an ensuing foul restored the Russian lead to 12 before two free-throws by Thomas Scrubb cut the deficit to 8 points with 1:05 remaining – the closest the Canadians got since Russia led 16-8 with 3:16 to play in first quarter.

The victory drops Canada (6-1) to the Bronze Medal against Serbia (6-1). Canada will have to opportunity earn its 10th Men’s basketball medal at FISU competitions. It will be a battle of undefeated teams as Russia (7-0) will take on Australia (7-0) in the gold medal game.

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