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Rowan Barrett Jr. leads Canada to First-Ever FIBA U19 World Cup Semi-Finals

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Rowan Barrett Jr Canada Vs France 2017 FIBAU19
Photo: FIBA

Canada’s U19 National team has reached it’s first-ever semi-finals by defeating France 73-67 at 2017 FIBA World Cup Championship in Cairo Egypt.

17-year old Rowan Barrett Jr., the number one ranked player in the class of 2019 kicked off the much anticipated quarter-finals against the European Champs with a two-hand dunk, setting the tone for the Canadians and quick 7-0 start. Barrett Jr. finished with a game-high 27 points, five rebounds and four assists while Abu Kigab racked-up his second-straight double-double 17 points and 15 rebounds and six assists.

Abu Kigab Team Canada Vs France 2017 FIBA U19 World Cup

Abu Kigab Team Canada vs. European champions France at 2017 FIBA U19 World Cup in Egypt, Cairo – Photo -FIBA

6’11” Canadian forward Grant Shephard (Kelowna, BC) rounded out Canada’s double-digits scores with 12 points and five rebounds on 4-of-5 shooting.

Canada played without the services of starting point guard Lindell Wigginton who was out due to a concern of concussion symptoms. Point-guard duties were shared by 5’9″ point guard Jordan Henry (Toronto, ON/Ryerson Rams/Usports) who started in his place, finishing with four points and five assists in 29 minutes while Noah Kirkwood (Ottawa, ON) contributed four points, three assists and two steals.

“What an incredibly proud moment for this group and this team,” head coach Roy Rana said. “To make history at the U19 level is sweet for us but we’re not going to settle. We’re focused on getting ready for the next challenge.”

Canada 24/55 (43.6%) from the field but continued to struggle from beyond the arc, connecting on only 5-of-15 (33%) attempts and a mild 20/32 from the charity stripe.

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The European champs got strong performance from 6’10” Killian Tillie (Gonzaga Bulldogs) with monster a double-double of 22 points and 16 rebounds on 10/16 shooting. Unfortunately France shot a miserable 9-of-22 (40.9%) from the foul-line and 26/71 from the field.

Canada 4-1 will take on rivals United States of America (5-0) in the first semi-final while Italy and Spain will battle it out in the other for the rights to advance to the Gold Medal game.

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FIBA

Hot shooting Australia Boomers take down Canada

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Hot Shooting Australia Boomers Take Down Canada 2019 Fiba World Cup Warm Up Series
Boomers Nicholas Kay drives past Canada's Oshea Brissett - Photo: Australia Basketball

Canada wrapped 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, limiting the Canadians pick and roll opportunities by going under screens and trailed 13-6 early on 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.

The Canadian’s opened up the second-quarter with back-to-back triples from Aaron Best and Kaza Kajami-Keane for 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 and a Khem Birch inside basket put Canada up 33-30 at half-time after a low-scoring 20 minutes.

The action the picked 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 on their way to six in the quarter take a slim 60-59 lead after the third-quarter.

Hot Shooting Australia Boomers Take Down Canada
Canadian Head Coach Nick Nurse in the huddle against Australia Boomers – Photo: Canada Basketball

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 three-pointers and quickly found 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.

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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.

Melvin Ejim Post Game Canada Vs Australia 2019 Fiba World Cup Series
Canada Melvin Ejim Post Game after the 83-71 loss Australia

“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. The Boomers played without Patty Mills and Andrew Bogut.

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.

Boxscore: Canada vs. Australia

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FIBA

Canada lays the boom defeats Australia 90-70

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Andrew Nembhard Drives Past Patty Mills Canada Beats Australia 2019 Fiba World Cup Warm Up Series

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.

Andrew Nembhard Canada Lays The Boom Defeats Australia 90 70
Andrew Nembhard “feels like he belongs here” after big double-double against Australia

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.

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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.

Boxscore: Canada vs. Australia

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