JUNIOR MEN OPEN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP WITH TOUGH LOSS TO SPAIN

The Junior Men’s National Team (JMNT) has begun the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship for Men with a hard-fought 81-70 loss to Spain. Canada had its chances in the match, but an impressive shooting display from the Spanish side proved too much to overcome.

The two sides opened the game trading baskets. The back-and-forth quarter saw Spain emerge with a four-point lead at 23-19. The see-saw battle would continue in the second as Spain opened-up an 11-point advantage before Canada closed to within six points, thanks to a three-pointer from Regina, Sask. Product Joe De Ciman.

Canada came out well in the second half with a strong 7-0 run to take the lead, but Team Spain responded with a 10-4 run of its own. The game of streaks continued as the resilient Canadians came back to knot the match at 54 to cap three quarters of play. The Spanish side emerged from the break and found its footing in the game. Spain matched a strong scoring touch with timely defence to close-out the game.

The JMNT was led by Brampton, Ont. native Tyler Ennis who finished with a team-high 20 points in the contest. Fellow team-returnees Xavier Rathan-Mayes and Trey Lyles each contributed 17 points. Lyles added seven rebounds on the day – a feat matched by guard Duane Notice, who finished with five on the offensive end. A full set of statistics for the match can be viewed here.

"We need to trust and commit to the game plan and adjust to the way the referees are calling the game. We need our swagger back and we have to be able to capitalize on our runs. We will be ready to handle business down the road,” said a focused and determined Notice.

Head coach Roy Rana reflected on the opener by saying, “It’s always tough to lose your first game, but we have a short period of time to regroup and get ready for another strong team in Croatia."

Canada matches up against Team Croatia on Friday morning at 7:15 a.m. (ET). The Canadians will end preliminary round play on Saturday versus Korea. That game is slated to tip-off at 9:30 a.m. (ET).