SENIOR MEN TAKE FIBA AMERICAS CHAMPIONSHIP OPENER


Image courtesy of FIBA Americas

The Senior Men’s National Team (SMNT) has opened the 2013 FIBA Americas Championship for Men with an 85-64 victory over Jamaica. The win is Team Canada’s third over the Caribbean nation following a two-game series sweep of the 2013 Jack Donohue International Classic to open the squad’s summer competitive season. 

The Canadians began the match on a furious pace with a pair of quick three-point field goals from Syracuse, N.Y. native Andrew Rautins. After the SMNT opened a 13-2 lead, Jamaica found its footing to trim the deficit to five points to end the quarter. A determined and focused Team Canada came out in the second to take control of the contest. The Red and White held Jamaica to 11 points while scoring 23 in the frame to stretch their lead to 42-25.

Team Canada began the third with a 9-2 run, but Jamaica answered with seven minutes of tough energized basketball. The resilient Jamaican side fought back with a 15-0 run to draw within seven points – the closest the team had been since early in the second quarter. Pickering, Ont. product Cory Joseph responded with an inspired personal performance of eight points to close-out the period with Canada ahead by 10.

Working off of Joseph’s energy, the SMNT opened the final quarter with seven straight points. Team Jamaica would pull to within nine by the six minute mark of the tightly contested frame, but the Canadians ended the game with a final 14-2 stretch. Team Canada never trailed in the match and led by as many as 24 points.

The SMNT was led by Joseph who finished two rebounds shy of a triple-double. The point guard tallied 17 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists. Burlington, Ontario’s Brady Heslip tied Joseph for the game-high in points through a 6-of-10 performance from the floor. Tristan Thompson of Brampton, Ont. notched a double-double of 11 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Vancouver, B.C. native Levon Kendall had an efficient 6-of-7 afternoon en route to 13 points and eight rebounds. The game’s statistics can be viewed here.

When asked about his team’s tournament opener, head coach Jay Triano commented that, “we got off to a great start. We put pressure on them and played well defensively. Our team is young, so this experience is valuable. We need to keep getting better game after game.”

Canada’s next test comes on Saturday afternoon as the SMNT faces Puerto Rico with tip-off slated for 2:00 p.m. (ET). The FIBA Americas Championship for Men concludes on September 11. The tournament’s four semifinalists will earn berths to the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain.