TIJUANA, MEXICO (June 8, 2022) - The Canadian U18 Men’s National Team held on for the 70-68 victory in a thriller against Brazil on Wednesday at the FIBA U18 Americas Championship 2022 in Tijuana, Mexico.
Canada was led by an 18-point, 10-rebound, five-assist performance by Vasean Allette, while Elijah Fisher and Thomas Ndong added 11 points apiece. Allette also had three steals to lead Canada who won despite a 28-point performance from Brazil’s Reynan Camilo Dos Santos. The Canadians jumped out to an early 10-point lead in the first quarter and never trailed. That didn't mean the game lacked drama, though.
After turning the ball over with a two-point lead and 19 seconds on the clock, Canada survived a three-point heave from Gabriel Landeira that was off the mark to hold on for the win. The defence was the story in a gritty game where neither team shot well from the floor.
When the fourth quarter started, Canada was leading by four. After a jumper from Mikkel Tyne put Canada ahead by nine, 64-55, with 6:14 remaining, Brazil called a timeout to regroup. It worked as the team went on a tear out of the timeout, scoring six straight points to force Canada into a timeout of their own with 4:39 remaining. With a three-point lead, Canada's defensive intensity was dialled all the way up the rest of the way through. When Michael Nwoko turned the ball over on one end, he made sure to make up for it by sprinting back to block the shot on the other and protect a three-point lead for Canada with two minutes remaining. Shortly after that possession, a layup from Ndong provided some additional breathing room.
It was also Ndong who came up clutch a minute later, calmly knocking down a pair of free throws with 1:30 remaining to keep Canada ahead by five before the team turned the ball over on a 24-second violation. Brazil made Canada pay for the misstep, as Camilo Dos Santos hit a three to get within two and set up the final two possessions of the game.
Canada shot just 31 percent in the game, going 5-for-23 (22 percent) from three. Brazil shot 38 percent from the floor, while also shooting 22 percent from deep, making 7-of-32 attempts from beyond the arc. Once again, the Canadians won the battle on the glass, outrebounding Brazil 48-43. Canada finished with 20 offensive rebounds and scored 22 points off turnovers compared to just 13 scored by Brazil off of Canada’s miscues.
The early 14-4 lead for Canada was the largest of the game. Canada led by three after one, and six at the half. That margin ended up to be enough, as both teams struggled to score in the fourth, as Brazil won the final quarter 15-13.
With this victory, Canada moves to 2-1 in the group phase, earning victories against Brazil and Mexico. Their lone loss came against Argentina on Tuesday.