The Development Men’s National Team opened the 27th FISU Summer Universiade with an 84-69 victory over Sweden. The event, also known as the World University Games, is the largest international sporting event outside of the Olympic Games. The Universiade features teams of student-athletes from across the globe compete in 27 sports, including basketball on both the men’s and women’s sides.
It was Sweden that set the pace early in this match. The Swedish side led for the majority of the opening quarter until the 2:00 mark. Burlington, Ont. native Brady Heslip scored eight points over the final 120 seconds to put Canada ahead 19-10. With the momentum on the side of the Red and White, several Canadians stepped-up their games to lead Team Canada. Toronto, Ont. product Dwight Powell notched nine points in the second frame as Canada built a 43-25 halftime lead.
Holland Landing, Ontario’s Kevin Pangos was key to the Canadian’s third quarter attack in contributing six points in the period. The added offence was needed as the Swedish side seemed intent on making up for a poor first half offensive display. Sweden would go on to tally 26 points in the quarter and close the gap to 11. Owen Klassen of Kingston, Ont. added five points in the final quarter as Canada used 22 points and a solid defensive effort to hold-off Sweden.
Heslip finished the match with a game-high 22 points, including 15 from three-point range. Powell finished just shy of a double-double with 16 points and nine rebounds. Klassen also fell short of the feat by a single point, but finished with a game-high 10 rebounds. The collective size and speed of Canada helped the team to a 43-33 edge in rebounding and a 7-1 advantage in blocks. The game’s full set of statistics can be found here.
When asked about the team’s performance on the day, Heslip told Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), “When you start playing games again after a few weeks off, it’s a little different. But after the first quarter, all the guys gelled back into it. The whole three weeks that we spent together before this makes it easier. The guys do a great job of finding me – I’m just there to knock down shots.”
Head coach Jay Triano liked his team's effort, but sees areas that can be improved upon. “I thought we played with good intensity. We just need to play a little bit smarter and a little bit better."
Canada will continue preliminary round play against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Monday at 12:30 p.m. (ET). The UAE fell 140-46 to the United States on the first day of competition.