MALAGA, SPAIN (July 5, 2022) - The Canadian U17 Men’s National Team dropped an 86-67 decision to Serbia at the FIBA U17 World Basketball Cup 2022 on Tuesday.
Though Canada won the final three quarters 59-55, they were unable to overcome a nightmare first quarter where they shot just 1-for-19 from the floor and gave up a 16-0 run to fall behind 31-8 after the first 10 minutes of the game.
Four Canadians finished in double figures, as Stephen Osei, Jacob Theodosiou, Jaion Pitt and Jovan Milicevic each finished with 10 points in the loss. Osei and Pitt added seven rebounds apiece as well.
Filip Jović led Serbia with a game-high 20 points, while Mitar Bošnjaković added a 12-point, 10-rebound double-double in the victory.
Canada shot just 27 percent from the floor in the game, while giving up 43 percent shooting to Serbia. The Canadians were outrebounded 62-41, but Serbia turned the ball over 24 times compared to 16 miscues for Canada.
While Canada couldn’t get anything to go offensively in the first quarter, Serbia shot 10-for-20 from the floor.
Canada upped its defensive intensity after the shaky start, holding Serbia to just 14 points in the second frame as Serbia went scoreless for nearly the first three minutes of the quarter. The Canadians finally began to get some rhythm offensively with a jumper from Chrisian Nitu and then a three-pointer from Hudson Ward to trim the deficit to 19 points with 5:01 remaining in the half. After a pair of free throws from Pitt and Osei connecting on one of two free throws with 0.4 seconds remaining in the quarter, Canada went into the half trailing 45-27.
Canada won the second quarter 19-14 as their defensive intensity helped force Serbia into 11 first-half turnovers.
In the second half, Canada continued to keep pace with Serbia, but were unable to get the stops needed to overcome that first-quarter deficit. A three-point play for Theodosiou with 4:47 remaining in the third snapped a 9-1 run by Serbia. A pair of free throws for Milicevic then trimmed the deficit to 66-47 with 1:26 remaining. Milicevic followed up his free throws with a three-pointer as Canada went into the fourth trailing 70-50.
In the fourth, Canada not only kept pace with Serbia, but took the quarter, 17-16. An 8-0 run by Canada trimmed the deficit to 13 points with 2:50 remaining, before a three-pointer for Dorde Ćurčić stopped the run and Serbia closed out the victory from there.
Up next for Canada is the Round of 16 on Wednesday, July 6, time and opponent to be determined.