ROSARIO, ARG (June 30, 2018) - Team Canada's U17 Men's National Team defeated Montenegro 92-67 on Saturday afternoon to kick off the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup 2018 in Rosario and Santa Fe, Argentina.
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Addison Patterson led the way for the red and white, pouring in a game-high 20 points to go along with five rebounds and three steals in the victory. Joshua Hemmings and Luka Sakota also helped carry the scoring load for Canada, scoring 11 and 10 points, respectively. Montenegro was led by Jovan Kljajic, who scored 17 points in the loss.
It was a back and forth affair in the opening quarter, as neither team found a way to pull ahead and create a decisive lead through the first twelve minutes of action. Benjamin Krikke led the way for the red and white in the opening frame, scoring five points while Canada remained knotted at 15-15 heading into the second quarter.
Canada would begin the second quarter with a strong scoring run, but the offence of Montenegro, sparked by Bojan Tomasevic, allowed them to stay in the game. However, a quick individual scoring display from Hemmings led Canada to a seven-point lead late in the second. An enormous momentum-shifting dunk from Patterson late in the half eventually sent Canada into halftime with a 38-29 lead.
Canada's Shemar Rathan-Mayes penetrated the Montenegro defence to begin the third, sparking the team's offence with strong ball-movement. A balanced scoring effort was the catalyst to the Canadian offence throughout the third, but foul trouble for Canada kept Montenegro in the game. However, a buzzer-beating three from Canada's Luka Sakota would give Team Canada the 58-49 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Canada attacked the paint to start the fourth, extending their lead to 17 quickly to begin the final frame. Penetrating the paint opened up the perimeter for the red and white and they took advantage, catching fire from beyond the arc and blowing the game open. Despite a strong effort from Montenegro, the Canadian offence proved to be too much to handle as Canada cruised to a 92-67 victory.
Canada's quest for a gold medal will continue tomorrow as they take on Egypt at 12:45 PM EST on day two of the group phase.
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