CANADA RALLIES TO SWEEP JAMAICA ON HOME SOIL

The Senior Men’s National Team (SMNT) started its summer competitive season with a sweep of the two-game 2013 Jack Donohue International Classic (JDIC) versus visiting Jamaica. The host country won 77-72 after opening the series with an 81-72 victory two nights ago.

Team Canada came out firing and quickly raced-out to a 16-10 lead in the game’s opening minutes. However, a determined Team Jamaica responded with a 16-9 run to end the first quarter. The Jamaican side carried that strong momentum into the second period and quickly built a comfortable lead. The Caribbean side would go on to outscore Canada in the period by a 23-12 margin to lead 49-37 at the game’s midway mark.

Both teams settled down and opened the third with strong defensive efforts, but Canada slowly began chipping away at their deficit. Even play from both sides kept Team Canada at bay as the Jamaican lead still stood at nine after 30 minutes of play. The strong support of the home side seemed to lift the spirits of the Red and White in the fourth frame. The crowd rang out with praise as Canada opened the fourth with a 13-6 run to draw within two points halfway through the quarter. From there, the Canadians closed out the match with a 10-3 stretch to complete the comeback and secure the win.

The Canadians were led by Brampton, Ont. native Tristan Thompson who registered a double-double of 16 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Mississauga, Ont. product Andrew Nicholson added 13 for the home team. Syracuse, New York’s Andrew Rautins shot his way to 11 points, including a stretch of eight straight points in the fourth to key the Canadian rally. Canada’s comeback came through the free-throw line; the team made 11 of its 15 trips to the stripe in the game’s final 10 minutes and finished perfect on the night at the line. The full set of statistics for this match can be viewed here.

“It’s great to play games. We said coming in that our goals were to be competitive, play against somebody else and see what we can do and also have this be a tryout so we could get everybody in the games so we could get a chance to evaluate our players and evaluate where we are,” said head coach Jay Triano when asked about training camp and the exhibition series.

The JDIC – an annual event and a Canada Basketball tradition – was the first step in the SMNT’s journey to this summer’s FIBA Americas Championship for Men in Caracas, Venezuela. The two JDIC participants will meet on the court again on August 30 to open the competition. The 10-team tournament will see the top four finishers qualify for the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain.