The Junior Men’s National Team (JMNT) came together for a 93-75 victory over Korea at the FIBA U19 World Championship for Men. With the victory, Canada moves on to the Eighth Final Round of competition.
The match began with a flurry of activity from both sides. Canada and Korea traded baskets and chances throughout the first 10 minutes with neither side able to establish a clear advantage. Canada never trailed after a game-opening 2-0 deficit, but Korea kept the game close and tied the contest several times. Canada led by a slim 27-23 margin after the first frame.
The JMNT and Korea played even through the middle quarters of the match. Team Canada pushed the pace, but a resilient Korean squad clawed back each time. With 18 points-a-side, the Red and White’s first quarter advantage held at the half. Brampton, Ontario’s Denzell Taylor contributed six of his eight points in the third quarter to once again keep Canada even with Korea at 20 points each.
Team Canada was finally able to distance itself from Team Korea in the fourth. The Canadians opened on a quick 8-2 run and seemed to build momentum and confidence from there. Brampton, Ont. native Tyler Ennis was key down the stretch with 11 points in the quarter. With the victory, Canada has advanced to the Eighth Final Round where the team will join Group E. The top four teams from the next round will then advance to the quarter-finals.
Ennis finished the day with a game-high 26 points to accompany four assists and two steals. Trey Lyles notched his second consecutive double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Duane Notice was a force to be reckoned with in the Korean end. He corralled seven offensive rebounds and pulled down 11 in total to go with 10 points. Team Canada’s balanced attack saw four players score in double figures with Xavier Rathan-Mayes adding 11 in the match. Chris Egi and Taylor were each two points shy of double-figures. The game’s full set of statistics can be viewed here.
When asked about the team’s performance, Ennis replied, “We stayed mentally tough. We adjusted to Korea's style of play while continuing to play our game. By staying tough and focused, we were able to outlast them."
Head coach Roy Rana credits a complete team effort for the victory. "We are very proud of the way our guys played for each other and for their country tonight. The team came together and got a very important win to help us move on to the next stage of the Worlds."
Canada will kick-off the Eighth Final Round against the Group B first-place finisher, either Lithuania or Argentina, on Canada Day. A time has yet to be confirmed.