Caracas, Venezuela – (BasketballBuzz) – Canada’s Senior Men’s National Team (SMNT) behind a fluid offense and solid team play, put together their most complete game of the summer by routing Jamaica 85-64 to open-up the 2013 FIBA Americas Championships with a much needed win.
Canada wasted no time against a familiar opponent jumping out to an early 13-2 lead and never looked back as Cory Joseph (Pickering, Ont.) kept the Canadian offense moving the ball to lead four players in double-figures. Joseph put together his best effort for Canada since his debut a year ago, missing out on a triple-double with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists.
Brady Heslip (Burlington, Ont.) caused Jamaica fitz all night with 17 points off the bench on 6-of-10 shooting and Levon Kendall (Vancouver, B.C) was nearly perfect with 13 points and 8 rebounds on 6-of-7 shots.
Tristan Thompson (Brampton, Ont.) rebounded from slow first half and finished with a double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds as Canada out-muscled Team Jamaica 42-30 on the glass.
Canada took a 19-14 lead after the first quarter, stretched to 17 and comfortably led 42-25 at half-time thanks to zero turnovers and 13 assists (7 by Cory Joseph.)
Tristan Thompson (NBA/Cleveland} came to life in the third quarter with back to back baskets and Andy Rautins capped off a 9-0 run with his third three-pointer of the contest and Canada grabbed its largest lead at 51-27.
Adrien Utter (14 points, 6 rebounds), Jerome Jordan (12 points, 8 rebounds) and Durant Scott (12 points 2/4 triples) kept Jamaica in the game, helping the Caribbean nation, (whose roots are deeply embedded in Canada’s team), rally from a 24-point deficit in the third quarter with a 17-1 run to trim the lead down to single digits at 52-45 with 1:33 to go in the quarter.
From there its was all Canada as Cory Joseph (NBA/Spurs) closed out the quarter on a personal 8-0 run, capped by a three-pointer, and Canada led 60-50. The run extended in the fourth-quarter as Kendall and Heslip (NCAA/Baylor Bears) continued their brilliant shooting nights with seven more points to cap a off a much needed 15-0 run between quarters on their way to 21 point victory.
Canada started the game shooting 4-of-6 and finished a healthy 32-of-71 (45%). Jamaica who failed to generate a single turnover in the first-half got back in the game by forcing nine second half-turnovers, turning them into 14 points (8 fast break), but only shot 22-64 (34%) for the game.
The win snaps Canada’s four-game losing streak after failing to come out on the winning side at the 2013 Tuto Marchand Cup and improved to 3-0 overall this summer against Jamaica. Jay Triano and his staff will now prepare his troops for a tough match up against Puerto Rico, who is coming off a slim 78-71 victory over Canada in the opener of the Marchand Cup.
Hot shooting Australia Boomers take down Canada
Canada wrapped-up a two-game exhibition series against 2019 FIBA World Cup group H foe and commonwealth neighbor with a 81-73 loss to the hot shooting Australia Boomers.
Canada started off slow as Australia made their defensive adjustments, after blowing out the Aussies 90-70 a day earlier by limiting the Canadians pick and roll opportunities and forcing Canada to shoot by going under screens. The Canadian’s trailed 13-6 early, but rallied with a 12-5 run to close the first-quarter with a 18-17 lead on a step-back jumper from Oshae Brissett.
Using a combination of U Sports basketball guards Canada opened up the second-quarter with back-to-back triples from Aaron Best and Kaza Kajami-Keane for a 26-19 lead with 7:27 to play. Australia responded with a 9-0 run to re-take the lead before Andrew Nembhard put a halt to the run with a easy lay-up. Khem Birch dropped in an inside basket to put Canada up 33-30 at half-time after a low-scoring 20 minutes.
The action picked-up in the third-quarter as both teams shot the ball extremely well, combining for a total of 56 points. Melvin Ejim scored Canada’s first five points and Khem Birch dominated the paint to give Team Canada a 48-38 advantage with 5:42 to play. Australia quickly found their stroke knocking down three-straight triples in less than minute – on their way to six in the quarter and a slim 60-59 lead after the third-quarter.
Canada’s offense dried-up in the fourth-quarter with just two points scored at the mid-way point as they settled for long jumpers and unnecessary three-pointers to quickly find themselves down 70-61 with 4:43 to play in the game.
Khem Birch sparked a late Canadian run, scoring 6 straight points to cut the lead down to 3 points at 70-67 with 3:30 to play and finished with a game-high 18 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals. Oshae Brissett added 14 points and 5 rebounds. Kaza Kajami-Keane rounded out Canada’s double-figure scores with 11 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists and Melvin Ejim contributed with 9 points and 7 rebounds.
The Boomers knocked down 12-31 (38%) from downtown, after shooting just 3-for-13 in the first-half. The Canadians were a miserable 7-of-25 (28%) from the outside and struggled with turnovers with 16. The Aussies grabbed 12 offensive boards and won the battle of the glass with a 43-40 edge.
“I thought it was very positive for us these two games, I thought we played extremely well, we competed, we played as a team, last night we obviously shot the ball a little bit better from three-point land but overall I thought it was a very positive two days for us.” – shared Canada’s Associate head coach Gordie Herbert after the game.
“We showed a lot of character these last two games, we had some guys not playing, but it was the same on their side. We played really tough, this is a great Australian team, they got a lot of great players and they are going to do very well. But I thought we showed promised and have the ability to compete no matter who we put on the floor.” – added Melvin Ejim.
Australia was led by Jock Landale with 13 points and 9 rebounds. Jonah Bolden added 12 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists and Chris Goulding with 10 points and 3 rebounds on 3-of -7 triples.
Canadian head coach Nick Nurse opted for a starting line-up that featured Andrew Nembhard, Philip Scrubb, Oshae Brissett, Kyle Wiltjer and Khem Birch while resting Kevin Pangos. Team Canada was also without the services of Cory Joseph and sharpshooter Brady Heslip. The Boomers played without Patty Mills and Andrew Bogut.
Both teams held back schemes, familiarized and acquainted themselves with each other and now have game footage in preparation for a crucial 2019 FIBA World Cup opening clash between the teams in less than two weeks in China.
Team Canada (2-2) will continue its FIBA World Cup preparations with a two-game series against New Zealand in Sydney, Australia on Tuesday August 20 and Wednesday August 21st.
Canada lays the boom defeats Australia 90-70
Canada opened-up a five-game pre-FIBA World cup exhibition schedule on foreign soil with an impressive 20-point, 90-70 win over Australia Boomers.
Playing with just one NBA player after inviting 17 to training camp, Canada dissected Australia’s poor pick and roll defense by controlling the tempo with outstanding guard play and timely three-point shooting.
Kevin Pangos 18 points, 6 assists , 4 steals, on 7-of-10 shooting, 4-of-6 triples paced five Canadian basketball players in double-figures.
“He just wants us to play aggressive and play with confidence and keep getting better, it’s a process, we don’t want to peak right now, we want to peak at the Worlds.” discussed Pangos post-game about head Coach Nick Nurse’s mentality coming into the physical affair against a team that is part of Canada’s group H at the World Cup.
19-year-old point-guard Andrew Nembhard finished with a double-double with 12 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists playing a team-high 26 minutes.
“I’m just excited to be here, I feel like I’m supposed to be here and feel really comfortable on the court.” – opened-up Nembhard after the game.
Kaza Kajami-Keane came off the bench and hit a crucial three-pointer to end the third-quarter to restore orders for Canada and finished with 12 points. on 2-of-3 three-pointers. Kyle Wiltjer was crucial with 11 points and 6 rebounds including 3-of-6 from downtown.
Owen Klassen filling in for injured Olynyk was solid with 10 points and 4 rebounds. Philip Scrubb also chipped in with 10 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists.
Canada knocked down 13-of-32 (40%) triples and shot 36-of-79 (45%) from the the game.
Australia a team, loaded with NBA talent including Patty Mills, Joe Ingles (11 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists), Andrew Bogut (10 points, 13 rebounds, 2 assists), Matthew Dellavedova (0 points, 6 assists, 2 rebounds) were held to just 6-of-34 shooting from three-pointers and struggled with 15 turnovers — largely due to Team Canada’s active hands on defense.
Mills finished with a game-high 20 points knocking down 4 of Australia’s 6 three-pointers on just 4-of-13 outside the arc.
Nick Nurse opted for a starting line-up that featured Philip Scrubb, Kevin Pangos, Oshae Brissett (3 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists), Kyle Wiltjer and Khem Birch (6 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists). Both Brady Heslip and Melvin Ejim sat out this one out and will likely suit-up for the next game.
Canada improves to 2-1 in their 7-game pre-Fiba schedule and will take on the Aussies once again tomorrow as both teams get ready for the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China.
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