For the first time in 14 years, Canada is one win away from a gold medal in men’s basketball at the Summer Universiade. Leaving nothing to chance, the Canadians never trailed on Sunday in their semifinal against Lithuania, winning 83-68 to advance to their first world university games final since 1997 in Sicily, Italy.
Canada (5-1) will face defending champion Serbia (5-1) on Monday at 9:30 p.m. local time (9:30 a.m. ET) in its fifth final in 20 appearances at the FISU tournament. The game can be seen streaming on www.livefisu.tv.
The Serbians defeated Russia 81-61 in the other semifinal. The Canadians beat Serbia 70-67 in their second Pool B outing on Aug. 14.
“It’s fabulous,” said Team Canada bench boss Kevin Hanson of making the gold medal final. “These guys are all very focused, this is a mature group and we have been following that old cliché of ‘one game at a time.”
Ottawa native Tyson Hinz continued to be Canada’s go-to scorer and left the court with 21 points before fouling out late in the fourth, marking his third 20-plus point performance of the tournament.
“The guy is a winner, the fact that we are running everything through him isn’t a surprise to anybody,” said Hanson of his star forward. “He’s a bit undersized in the post, and a lot of people back home were questioning whether he can play internationally, and I think he is proving that he can right now.”
Hinz started slow, Lithuania keyed defensively on the reigning Canadian Interuniversity Sport player of the year, and he had only five points at the half. The Carleton University forward finished the game 6-for-14 from the field, including two three-pointers, and is averaging a team-best 16.2 points per game through six FISU contests.
“We are playing really well as a team and in particular we are defending well as a team,” said Hinz, who has led Canada in scoring in four of six games. “If they are going to key in on me, someone always steps up, whether it’s Boris [Bakovic], Warren [Ward], or someone else, we find a way.”
Lithuania (5-2) was perhaps suffering from an emotional and physical letdown after their 76-74 quarter-final upset of the United States on Saturday night and it showed in the first half, as the Canadians came out gunning. Toronto’s Bakovic scored the first eight points of the game for Canada, including two three-pointers, to open the quarter on an 8-to-2 run. The Canucks led 24-18 at the end of the first, and went into halftime up 39-29.
It was more of the same in the third quarter, as Jahmal Jones of Mississauga, Ont., gave the Canadians their biggest lead of the third following a lay-up with 5:35 left in the quarter (49-33). But on the play Jones lost control in the air and came crashing down to the court chin first. Jones was forced to leave the game to get three stitches, but returned in the fourth quarter to a resounding ovation from the crowd.
The loss of Jones killed some of Canada’s momentum. Lithuania was able to get within six points (53-47) before Ward, of London, Ont., connected on a three-pointer with under 20 seconds left to put Canada up by nine (56-47) heading into the fourth.
“It feels really good, hopefully we can bring home a gold for Canada,” said Jones with a red bandage covering his chin, the handiwork of team Canada trainer Geoff Mabey. “I’m a younger guy on this team and I look up to a lot of the other guys here. They have been to the [CIS] final eight, the Carleton guys have won it, and they have been a huge help to me. If they had said before the tournament that Canada was going to win a medal, they probably would have laughed, but we are proving them wrong.”
The Canadians didn’t let their opponent off the mat in the fourth, their advantage never shrinking to under nine points and increasing to 17 on four occasions.
Lithuania had entered Sunday’s game as the third highest scoring team in the tournament, averaging over 83 points a game. But Canada’s strength in Shenzhen has been its team defence, and the Canucks held their European foes to just 3-for-26 shooting from beyond the arc, while winning the battle of the boards 50-to-41.
Bakovic and Ward each walked off the court with 16 points, while Gediminas Zyle led Lithuania with 15.
NOTES: Canada’s previous final appearances at the Universiade came in 1983 in Edmonton, 1991 in England, 1993 in Buffalo and 1997 in Italy… The Canadians’ lone title came in 1983 thanks to an 83-68 win over Yugoslavia… The 1983 triumph had been set up by a victory over an American squad that included, among others, future NBA legends Karl Malone and Charles Barkley…
CANADA’S MEDALS IN MEN’S BASKETBALL AT THE UNIVERSIADE (8):
1983 (Edmonton, Canada): 83-68 win over Yugoslavia in final
1997 (Sicily, Italy)
1993 (Buffalo, USA)
1991 (Sheffield, England)
2007 (Bangkok, Thailand)
2003 (Daegu, South Korea)
1995 (Fukuoka, Japan)
1985 (Kobe, Japan)
Canada earns silver at 2019 FIBA U16 Americas Championships
Canada’s U16 Men’s national team captured a third straight silver medal at the 2019 FIBA Americas championships falling 94-77 to the United States of America in the Gold medal game in Belem, Brazil.
The highly anticipated bout featuring the two top U16 FIBA-ranked teams in the world didn’t disappoint — showcasing upwards of a combined 10 potential NBA draftees.
Team Canada kept the game tight for the first 10 minutes and took their only lead of the game at 17-15 with 2:02 in to play, before a late triple gave the USA a 18-17 lead to close the quarter.
The USA took the game to the Canadians in the second-quarter, outscoring Canada 27-15 for a 45-32 half-time lead.
Caleb Houstan (Mississauga, Ont.) scored 25 points and three rebounds and finished as the championship’s second leading scorer with 22.8 points per game. Houstan, a silky smooth forward had a tournament high 29 points to become Canada’s top scorer in U16 FIBA Americas competition — breaking Kevin Pangos 28 point record from 2009.
Canada showed some bark in the third-quarter with solid defensive stretches and back-to-back dunks, cutting the lead to single digits on multiple occasions and closing in at 57-51 of the Americans with 4:34 to play.
The Americans rallied with a 13-6 run to end third-quarter for a comfortable 72-57 lead and put it in cruise control in the fourth-quarter — stretching the lead to a game-high 21 points.
Despite the loss, the final 17-point deficit ties the lowest spread between the two squads in five championship or semi-finals games at the FIBA Americas tournament.
Team Canada has now lost all five games against the USA at the FIBA U16 Americas championships — dropping three-straight gold medal games — 111-60 in 2017 and 77-60 in 2015 and two semi-finals encounters, 113-70 in 2011 and 126-78 in 2009.
Ryan Nembhard (Aurora, Ont) wrapped the tournament with another outstanding effort with 21 points, 9 assists and 2 rebounds. Nembhard led the tournament with a total of 54 assists, good for 9 per game, and was Canada’s second leading scorer at 14.3 points per game.
Enoch Boakye (Brampton, Ont) 12 points and 13 rebounds concluded the tournament with his third straight game in double-figures rebounding and was the third top rebounder in the competition at 10.8 per game. Boakye had of two of the tournaments top 10 rebounding performances with 17 against Mexico and 16 against Dominican Republic.
Both Houstan and Ryan Nembhard were named to the tournaments all-star team alongside Dominican Republic’s Jean Montero — including the USA’s Jalen Durne and tournament MVP Christopher Livingston.
Canada finished the tournament 5-1 with group B victories over Uruguay 101-63, Brazil 90-67, Puerto Rico 96-76 and wins over Mexico 95-78 and 97-81 over the Dominican Republic in the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively.
The U16 Canadian squad has reached the podium five times since the inaugural, bi-annual American zone tournament kicked-off 10 years ago in 2009 — earning three silver and two bronze medals. Canada lost a heart-breaking 65-64 semi-finals loss to Argentina in 2013.
Canada has qualified for the 2020 U17 FIBA World Championships where they will look to improve from their 2018 4th-place finish.
Shaedon Sharpe posterizes Dominican defender at U16 FIBA Americas
Canadian 16-year old high-flyer Shaedon Sharpe took off and posterized a Dominican Republic defender at the 2019 FIBA U16 Americas championship in Brazil.
With 35 seconds to play the first-half Sharpe shook off a defender with a sweet pump fake and then took-off baseline and dropped a Jordanesque poster all-over the Dominican defender.
Canada broken a tightly contested semi-finals contest to beat the Dominican Republic 97-81 to reach the finals of the 2016 FIBA U16 Americas championships.
Sharpe finished with 17 points , four rebounds and three assists, shooting 8-for-10 from the field.
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