SENIOR MEN FALL TO HOST-NATION VENEZUELA IN DEFENSIVE BATTLE


Image courtesy of FIBA Americas

The Senior Men’s National Team (SMNT) fell 64-59 in a hard-fought contest of competing defences at the FIBA Americas Championship for Men. Canada’s record in the second round of the competition now sits at 3-2 with two games remaining in this phase of the tournament.

The physical affair opened with action at both ends of the court. The home side fed off the intensity of the home crowd as the teams battled hard throughout the first. Venezuela and Canada were never separated by more than four points as the home team finished ahead 16-14 after 10 minutes. The Canadians tied it early in the second, but the Venezuelans responded with an 11-2 stretch. After the SMNT closed to within four points, Venezuela finished with five straight to lead 35-26 at halftime.

After the home team extended its advantage to 10 points at 39-29, Team Canada surged back with its own 11-2 run to claw back into the match. Buoyed by the booming crowd, Venezuela responded with a late run to even the scoring in the quarter to 14-a-piece. The hosts carried the momentum of the third into the final frame, but once again, the Canadian defence limited the opposition’s opportunities until the team's offence could respond. The SMNT held Team Venezuela scoreless for five minutes while stringing together an 11-0 run to trail 60-59, but time ran out on Canada’s comeback bid.

The Canadians were led by Brampton, Ont. native Tristan Thompson who showed character and determination in scoring 12 points and battling for 20 rebounds. The forward now leads the tournament with 64 total rebounds, averaging 10.7 through six contests. Cory Joseph of Pickering, Ont. contributed a team-high 14 points, while Odessa, Ont. product Aaron Doornekamp added six points and collected 10 rebounds. Canada finished with a 40-24 edge in rebounding. The game’s statistics are available here.

"I give credit to Venezuela for their performance tonight. They were physical and their experienced showed. They did a good job of disrupting our offence with their defence," said head coach Jay Triano following the game. "I was pleased with our defensive effort in holding them to 36 per cent shooting from the field. Our work in our own end kept us in the game."

Coach Triano added that, "In tournaments, there's no time to dwell on missed opportunities; it's important to stay focused and look ahead to the next game." The SMNT continues the second round of the FIBA Americas Championship for Men on Saturday against the Dominican Republic with tip-off slated for 5:30 p.m. (ET). The Dominican side also holds a 3-2 record following a 99-84 victory over Puerto Rico.