The Development Men’s National Team (DMNT) has completed its sweep of the Four Nations’ International Invitational Tournament after posting a thorough 93-38 victory over Latvia. With the win, Canada has finished the 11-day competition with a perfect 9-0 record in registering three victories over each of the United States, Latvia and host-nation China.
Canada played through the first 10 minutes of the match with a clear focus on defence. The team has shown a strong commitment to its own end for much of the tournament and this day was no different, limiting Latvia to eight points in the opening quarter. The second saw Canada find its game in the Latvian end. The offense came alive as Team Canada pushed the pace and began controlling the boards. Their opponents would score 17 in the quarter for their strongest offensive stretch of the day, but Canada posted 24 in the frame to lead 42-25 at the half.
The DMNT spent the second half exerting its will over Team Latvia. They shot the ball well, played tight, suffocating defence, and dominated on the glass. Canada would hold the opposition to nine points in the third and four points in the fourth. Meanwhile, the Red and White exploded for 51 points in the final 20 minutes of the match through strong and confident team-play.
Dwight Powell led the way with a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds. Kyle Wiltjer posted 10 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double of his own. Canada’s balanced attack saw three more players – forward Owen Klassen and guards Kevin Pangos and Melvin Ejim – reach double-digits in scoring. Canada held a decisive edge in rebounding at 54-19 while distributing the ball well with 16 assists on the day.
Toronto, Ontario’s Ejim reflected on the team’s success in China saying, "this tournament was a great opportunity and experience. We were able to play good competition and grow as a team. I'm extremely blessed to have been a part of this and I am very excited for the direction that Canadian basketball is going in."
The DMNT will now return home to Canada to continue its preparations for the 27th FISU Summer Universiade where the best student-athlete teams from across the globe will compete in the largest international sporting event outside of the Olympics. The FISU Games, also known as the World University Games, will begin on July 7 before wrapping-up on July 16.