Canada’s men’s team of student athletes registered an 87-56 win over the Czech Republic at the 27th FISU Summer Universiade. The victory keeps Canada perfect in the tournament with a 4-0 record.
Dwight Powell of Toronto, Ont. opened the game’s scoring just 15 seconds in to the match, but the Czech Republic surged ahead with a strong team effort. The Czech side responded with a 9-0 run to put Team Canada on its heels. The first ten minutes of play ended with Canada trailing by a 19-10 margin. The second quarter played out in much the same way as Canada’s deficit stretched to 10 points. A pair of late Kevin Pangos three-pointers drew Team Canada close, but the strong and physical Czech Republic squad went into halftime ahead 34-28.
The Canadians found their footing in the second half and began to execute on offence. With four minutes left in the frame, Canada drew even at 43 points – the first time Canada had not trailed since the game’s 1:20 mark. From there, Canada unleashed a barrage at the offensive end with a 15-3 run. The final quarter saw much of the same as the Czech Republic could not keep up with the Red and White. Canada’s student athletes notched 29 points in the period while limiting the opposition to ten.
Holland Landing, Ontario’s Pangos finished with a game-high 17 points, including three baskets from long range. The student men’s balanced attack saw three more players finish in double digits: Daniel Mullings had 15 while Powell and Murphy Burnatowski contributed 11 each. Team Canada out-rebounded the Czech side by a count of 56-33 with 28 coming on the offensive side. Owen Klassen led the way with 12, while Jordan Bachynski collected ten on the day. The game’s statistics can be viewed here.
When asked about the team’s performance, head coach Jay Triano told Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), “We weren’t quick to the ball in the first half, but the second half we were active. As some teams wear down in this tournament, we’re fresh and we can run guys in and out. We bring an energy that we can be consistent with throughout a whole game. Our pressure defensively today showed that.”
Toronto, Ontario’s Mullings added, “We use our defence as our staple. Once we keyed in on their point guards and shooting guards to slow them down getting into their offence, I think that helped our offence.”
The victory sets-up a showdown for first place as Team Canada faces the United States on Friday. Team USA dropped a 93-84 decision to Australia moments before Canada tipped-off against the Czech Republic. Friday’s contest for first is scheduled to begin at 5:00 a.m. (ET). The match will be broadcast live online at www.fisu.tv.