TIJUANA, MEXICO (June 12, 2022) - The Canadian U18 Men’s National Team defeated Argentina 81-57 to claim the bronze medal at the FIBA U18 Americas Championship 2022 in Tijuana, Mexico on Sunday.
Canada was led by the efforts of Elijah Fisher, who flirted with a triple-double, as well as Vasean Allette and Michael Nwoko. Fisher finished with 12 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists in 34 minutes while Allette had 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Nwoko made his presence felt inside with a number of thunderous dunks as he finished with 20 points on 8-for-11 field goals to go along with seven rebounds in the win. Dylan Grant also finished with 12 points.
Canada shot 45 percent from the floor compared to 33 percent shooting for Argentina. Once again at this tournament, Canada owned the glass, outrebounding Argentina 57-31, including 23-9 on the offensive glass where four different Canadians recorded at least three offensive rebounds, led by Nwoko who had six of his seven rebounds on the offensive glass.
Santiago Trouet had 12 points and Diego Collomb added 10 points for Argentina in the loss.
Though the end result was lopsided in Canada’s favour, things were close early on. Despite Canada scoring the first eight points of the game, the Canadians held just a three-point lead after the opening 10 minutes to go into the second quarter ahead 13-10.
The second quarter was a reverse of the first as Argentina reeled off a 9-0 run to start, going from a three-point deficit to a six-point, 19-13 lead with 8:17 remaining in the quarter. A three-point play from Michael Nwoko got Canada back into the game as Canada’s hustle around the offensive glass made up for a series of missed shots to keep the game close.
A bucket from Grant gave Canada a one-point lead and then an Allette to Nwoko alley-oop put Canada ahead by three until Argentina’s Nicolas Stenta hit a three-pointer to tie the game at 29. From there, Fisher found Grant for a jumper and then Grant got the offensive rebound off of a miss from Allette and scored on a layup to finish his red-hot second quarter. Canada went into the half with a 33-31.
After a lengthy delay to start the third quarter due to an adjustment needing to be made on one of the baskets, the second half opened with a free throw from Bubu Benjamin, a three from Allette and an offensive putback dunk from Nwoko to extend Canada's lead to eight before Argentina got on the board in the third.
Canada continued to be extremely active on the offensive glass in the third, taking advantage of their extra opportunities and making them count. After another short delay due to an issue with the same basket, another putback dunk from Nwoko and a layup from Allette extended Canada’s lead to 46-37 with 4:02 remaining in the third.
After Jordann Dumont’s second three of the quarter, Mikkel Tyne found Fisher for an easy layup to extend Canada’s lead to 12 until Collomb knocked down a pair of free throws with 16 seconds remaining. Canada went into the fourth holding a 10-point lead, 58-48.
The fourth quarter was all Canada as the Canadians held Argentina to just nine points in the quarter, winning the fourth 23-9 en route to victory. A dunk from Fisher off of an Allette feed forced Argentina into a timeout trailing by 13 with 6:28 remaining. Though Trouet scored on an offensive putback out of the timeout, Argentina couldn’t string together enough stops to slow the Canadians who began to roll. A layup from Fisher off of a Nwoko assist followed by a driving dunk from Grant extended the lead to 17 points with 3:53 remaining. Canada’s margin of victory matched its largest lead of the game.
With the win, the team will leave Mexico having captured the bronze medal, as well as accomplishing their goal of qualifying for the U19 World Cup next summer to be held in Hungary.