The Junior Men’s National Team (JMNT) suffered a 79-66 setback in the second game of the FIBA U19 World Championship for Men.
Both teams came out looking to establish an early advantage, but each found a competitive and hungry team on the other side of the court. The two squads matched-up well and mirrored each other for the first half of the game. Defence was met with defence. A smooth three-pointer was equaled with a three-point play. Neither team could build a lead greater than five points in the opening 20 minutes as the action went back and forth. A long buzzer-beater by Croatia’s Jakov Mustapic put Canada behind 37-32 at halftime.
The JMNT pulled within one point early in the second half, but that was as close as the team would get. In the third, Croatia kept-up its slow and steady attack by outscoring Canada 15-12. The Canadians were met with physicality and a tough defensive effort at every time the team looked to establish its offence. The final 10 minutes proved different as the Croatian side exploded for 27 points while holding Team Canada to 22.
Brampton, Ont. native Tyler Ennis led the way for the Canadians with a game-high 25 points to go with four rebounds, four assists and three steals. 6-10 forward Trey Lyles’s 22 points in the game were second only to his teammate’s point total. He finished with a double-double by also grabbing 10 rebounds. The game’s statistics can be viewed here.
When asked about his team’s performance, head coach Roy Rana commented that, “it was a very physical game today. We worked hard, but tomorrow we will just have to continue to focus on the little things and finish better."
Canada finishes the preliminary round of the competition against Korea. Tip-off for the game is slated for 9:30 a.m. (ET) on Saturday morning.