CANADA’S SENIOR MEN FALL TO FIBA WORLD CUP BOUND SERBIA, 78-73
(Toronto, Ont. Aug 4, 2014) – Canada’s Senior Men were in for a big challenge today when they took on the FIBA Wold Cup bound Serbians in Trieste, Italy. The Canadians were looking to mix things up a bit by re-inserting Andrew Nicholson (Mississauga, Ont) and Jordan Baker (Edmonton, AB) into the starting lineup with the hopes that their presence would inject some energy into the starting unit. The Canadians battled hard against their formidable foe, rebounding by committee and sharing the rock. Unfortunately for the Canadians, they had trouble taking care of the ball and knocking down shots, which is a recipe for disaster when facing 11th ranked Serbia. Serbia met each Canadian run with a run of their own and were able to outlast the final Canadian push, coming away with a 78-73 victory.
Brady Heslip (Burlington, Ont.) led the Canadians with 18 points (7-14 FG), three steals, two rebounds, and one assist in just over 20 minutes of action. Kelly Olynyk (Kamloops, B.C.) and Melvin Ejim (Toronto, Ont.) each had nice games, with Olynyk dropping 11 points (5-11 FG), nine rebounds, four assists, one steal, and one block in 22:26 and Ejim recording 11 points (4-7 FG), six boards, one steal, and one block in 20:16 of action.
The Serbians were led by Bogdan Bogdanovic, who poured in 19 points (5-12 FG), two steals, and two assists in 24:50 of floor time.
After the first quarter, Canada trailed Serbia by four, 16-12. In the second frame, the Serbian’s were able to push their lead to 13, due in large part to the Canadians inability to knock down open jumpers. But the Canadians battled hard and were able to close the gap to just five points by halftime, with Serbia leading 39-34. In the third quarter the Canadians came out firing on all cylinders as Brady Heslip (Burlington, Ont.) almost singlehandedly shot the squad to a four-point lead by the mid-way point of the frame. But the Serbians’ answered and were able to re-take their lead, 61-53 by the end of the third. In the fourth, the Canadians displayed a gritty toughness that we have come to expect. Their never-say-die attitude propelled their offense as we saw the Serbian lead cut to just four points by the mid-way point of the quarter. But over the next three minutes, Serbia went on an 8-0 run and pushed their lead back up to 12. From that point on Serbia was able to tame the Canadian push as they finished with a five-point, 78-73 victory over Canada.
Today the Canadian Senior Men’s National Team was poise personified. Facing arguably their toughest opponent thus far on their European tour, the Canadians took it to the 11th ranked Serbians in a gutsy seesaw battle. The story today is a simple one: take care of the ball and knock down shots. Despite the great Canadian effort, they were outshot from the field: Serbia 47%, Canada: 42% as well as from the charity stripe, Canada 67% to Serbia’s 88%. Additionally, with Serbia forcing 22 Canadian turnovers and Canada forcing only 15, it becomes very difficult to win.
Canadian Head Coach Jay Triano was pleased with how his guys performed against such an elite talent in Serbia:
“It was a tough physical game against one of the better teams at the World Cup. I’m proud to say that we competed well.”
“We played a tough game and were able to come back in the third quarter, but ultimately some costly turnovers killed us down the stretch.”
Canada will look to right the ship tomorrow as they get set to take on Bosnia from Trieste, Italy in game number eight of their European tour. Game time is scheduled for 12:00 pm EST. Stay connected on Facebook & Twitter for quarter-by-quarter updates.