DMNT 5-0 FOLLOWING VICTORY OVER HOST-NATION CHINA

The Development Men’s National Team (DMNT) remained perfect at the Four Nations’ International Invitational Tournament after Thursday’s 81-62 victory over host-nation China. After completing a three-game sweep of the United States, China and Latvia in Kaixian, the DMNT began the second leg of the tournament in Huaihua with a strong 86-62 showing versus Team USA.

Team Canada showed focus and intensity to begin the game. Sharpshooting guard Brady Heslip of Burlington, Ont. quickly gunned his team to an early lead. The quick and efficient scorer potted 11 points in just five minutes of play to pace the DMNT to a 30-12 first quarter lead.

An Owen Klassen dunk in the second frame kept the team buzzing and even brought the pro-China crowd to its feet. Canada owned a 46-20 lead at the break, but Team China pushed back in the second half. They fed off the energy of a lively crowd and outscored Canada 42-35 in the final 20 minutes, but Canada’s big first half remained the difference in the match.

Heslip led the Canadian effort with 24 points on the day and commented that “we came out hungry because we knew China is a great team. We knew they would come at us, but we had other plans. I was able to get a couple of good looks early and when that happens, I can get going. My teammates did a good job finding me." Dwight Powell was effective once again in posting 15 points, while Klassen added 13.

Head coach Jay Triano saw positives in the first half, but sees room for improvement. "I thought in the first, we played the best we can and we executed our plays. In the second half, we never let them get back in it, but we have to learn how to maintain our focus for 40 minutes. It’s great to win, but we didn't play the full 40 minutes and the focus for our development is on playing a full game every time we step on the floor."

The DMNT will next face Latvia in the finale of the second leg of the tournament. The two teams’ meeting on Monday resulted in an 82-40 victory for Canada. On Saturday, the four nations will make their way to Wuqi for the third and final leg of the competition.