CANADA PICKS UP FIRST VICTORY OF 29TH SUMMER UNIVERSIADE
Taipei City, Chinese Taipei (Team Canada) - The Canadian men's basketball team passed their first test when they defeated Norway 85-54 in their opening game of pool play at the 29th Summer Universiade.
Despite a slow start, Team Canada was able to wear down the Norwegian team's defensive game and earn the solid victory. Carleton Raven Kaza Kajami-Keane led all scorers with 22 points and a game-high eight assists. UBC Thunderbirds Conor Morgan and Jordan Jensen-Whyte followed that up with 16 and 13 points, respectively. Erik Nissen from Acadia was the only player to hit double digits in rebounds with 10.
Norway's Mikkel Kolstad finished the match with a team-high 18 points.
"We've only been playing together for two and a half weeks, so tonight was about playing together more and getting our feet wet, said Kajami-Keane. "We have a lot of talent on this team and scoring the ball will be easy, so the defensive side is what we're trying to focus in on."
Canada led right from the get-go, but Norway made it tough on them early on, going toe-to-toe and ending the first quarter with a one-point lead. It was the second quarter that Kajami-Keane stepped it up and took the game into his own hands and helped the red and white start to pull away with the lead. The first half ended with a score of 42-31 in favour of the Canadians. Kajami-Keane led all scorers after the first half with 14 points.
"I talked to my coaches back home and they told me to be aggressive and help lead our team to a win. I felt like I had a slower start in the first quarter, so I needed to execute what they said going forward after that."
By the second half, Canada really started to gain some ground and three players including Kajami-Keane, Morgan and Jensen-Whyte had already hit double digits in points. The 14-point lead after the third grew to 31 to end of the match, with every player on the bench getting ample amount of time on the floor.
"For the most part, we're happy to start the tournament with a win like that and with everyone contributing and playing well, said head coach Kevin Hanson. "We thought everyone had a chance to show themselves to have an opportunity to play and we were really pleased with the results."
The men's basketball team will continue the tournament on Aug. 21 at 10:00 a.m. (10:00 p.m. Eastern) when it faces Finland, who won 94-48 in their opening game against Japan.
SOURCE: U SPORTS