JUNIOR MEN ADVANCE TO QUARTER-FINALS AT WORLDS
Image courtesy of FIBA
The Junior Men’s National Team (JMNT) came through in a must-win scenario to advance at the FIBA U19 World Championship for Men. With the 78-62 victory over Argentina, Canada finished with a 3-3 record and earned a quarter-final berth.
The JMNT looked focused and driven from the game’s first possession. A determined Trey Lyles forced Argentina to commit a quick foul just 16 seconds into the match; the 6-10 forward calmly made a pair from the free-throw line to set an early tone for Team Canada. Argentina stayed competitive and trailed by six after the first quarter, but the game opened up in the second. Canada kept-up a constant attack and outscored the opposition 25-12 to take a 42-23 lead into halftime.
The Canadians kept pace with the Argentinian side as the teams traded chances in the third quarter. The South American squad pushed hard in an attempt to cut into Team Canada’s lead, but the Red and White held them at-bay. An even frame saw each team notch 23 points as Canada maintained its 19-point halftime lead. A strong 10 minutes of defence ended the game as the JMNT limited Argentina’s quality scoring chances. Canada never trailed in the contest and led by as many as 23 points.
Lyles anchored the Canadian offence with a double-double of 21 points and 12 rebounds; he was the only player to finish with more than seven rebounds. Four players scored in double-digits – three were from Team Canada. Tyler Ennis contributed 17 points and four rebounds while Xavier Rathan-Mayes added 16 points on the day. The full set of statistics for this match can be viewed here.
Head coach Roy Rana spoke to the character and resiliency of the team when asked about their effort on the court. "We're very proud of our boys today to be able to advance to the final eight teams of the World Championship considering all the adversity we've gone through. It just shows the mental toughness of this group and their willingness to come together and make the sacrifice. We're excited to move on to the next round and we'll be ready."
Team USA will match-up against Team Serbia later today in the final game of the Eighth Final Round. Following a day-off, the JMNT will face the winner in the quarter-finals on Friday.