After taking three wins in three days to complete the first leg of the Four Nations’ International Invitational Tournament in Kaixian, China, the student-athlete teams of the host-nation, Canada, the United States and Latvia traveled to the second host-city of the tournament – Huaihua. In a rematch of Sunday’s contest, the Development Men’s National Team (DMNT) once again faced Team USA; different city – same outcome. Team Canada took the game 86-62 to remain perfect at 4-0 in the 11-day, 9-game competition.
The United States emerged from Tuesday’s travel day looking refreshed and re-energized. They raced out to an early lead and seemed intent on earning a different fate than Sunday’s 75-73 defeat at the hands of these same Canadians. The DMNT responded with a push-back of its own, but trailed 20-18 at the end of the first.
The remainder of the game told a different tale. Canada found its footing and began to execute head coach Jay Triano’s game plan. Steady team-defence led to offence. Rebounding became a focal point to controlling the tempo of the game. Players shared the ball and played as a more cohesive unit. The team’s 36-33 advantage at halftime grew to 13 points after thirty minutes. Team USA looked disjointed and disheartened as Canada stayed hungry and focused.
Dwight Powell, the team’s leading scorer with 12 points and seven rebounds, noted that, "we didn't come out as strong as we would have liked, but we stuck with our game plan and came out with the victory." Kyle Wiltjer and Grant Mullins added 11 points each while Daniel Mullings and Melvin Ejim contributed 10-a-piece in the Canadian’s balanced attack. Canada out-rebounded Team USA 36-25 in the match.
Coach Triano reflected on the DMNT and looked ahead to Canada’s next opponent. "After a slow start being down 10-nothing, I was pleased with how we responded. We are starting to gain more trust in these players and they are starting to believe in what we are doing as a team. We can't rest on this one as we have another important game tomorrow against the host country." Canada took the tournament-opening tilt against China by a score of 70-66. They will look for a similar result tomorrow morning when the teams renew their rivalry.