JUNIOR MEN REBOUND WITH BIG VICTORY OVER IRAN


Image courtesy of FIBA

The Junior Men’s National Team (JMNT) has earned a 95-57 victory over Iran at the FIBA U19 World Championship for Men. With the win, Canada improves to a record of 2-3 in the tournament while Iran fell to 1-4.

Canada emerged focused and determined on the day. A mostly even quarter was broken wide open with a 15-4 run to close-out the first 10 minutes of play. The second frame saw both teams buckle down and focus on the defensive end. Canada forced eight first-half turnovers from Iran while committing only two. At halftime, Team Canada held a 42-35 advantage.

A re-energized JMNT took the court in the second half as Team Iran looked to continue its strong play from the second quarter. The third began with back-and-forth play with both sides shooting the ball well. Iran looked dangerous early-on, but a resilient Team Canada focused on combining strong defence with timely offence. Canada’s strong ball-movement led to a 12-2 run to wrap-up the period. The fourth saw the JMNT continue its sharp-shooting as the Canadian side went on to outscore the opposition 27-7 to finish the match.

The JMNT featured a balanced attack with Saskatoon, Saskatchewan’s Trey Lyles leading the way. Lyles finished with a game-high 18 points, while four others notched double-digits on the day: Chris Egi (15), Xavier Rathan-Mayes (13), Tyler Ennis (12) and Joe De Ciman (10). Ajax, Ont. native Kaza Keane displayed his strong all-around game and finished with nine points, seven rebounds, eight assists and three steals. Team Canada’s tenacious defence produced 20 turnovers, while the Canadians committed only four. A full set of the game’s statistics can be viewed here.

Keane spoke of the team’s leadership when asked to comment on tonight’s game. "We bounced back and learned from our mistakes from last night. We had a team meeting today and the captains got us focused on what was ahead. We came out with a strong team effort against Iran and got the win."

When asked about his team’s performance, head coach Roy Rana said, "It was great to see our guys bounce back with an intense and focused collective effort versus a good Iran team. We look forward to the challenge ahead of us tomorrow."

Team Canada will finish the Eighth Final Round with a match-up against Argentina on Wednesday at 7:15 a.m. (ET). The Argentinian squad sits at a record of 1-4 following Tuesday’s 74-58 loss at the hands of Spain.