RIGA, Latvia (July 10, 2021) -- Canada's U19 Men’s National Team fell to the United States 92-86 in the semifinals of the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2021 on Saturday.
Canada was led by Caleb Houstan’s game-high 23 points, while Zach Edey finished with a 16-point, 16-rebound double-double in the loss. Benedict Mathurin had 19 points and Ryan Nembhard added 18 points, eight rebounds and six assists for Canada as well.
The USA had extremely balanced scoring in the win with four players in double figures and 11 players on the scoreboard. Kenneth Lofton Jr. scored a team-high 16 points in the victory, while Michael Miles added 15 points and Chet Holmgren added 12 points and eight rebounds.
The USA will now advance to the gold medal game, while Canada will play for the bronze medal in the third-place game on Sunday.
"We felt they [USA] were the only team that could challenge us really,” Edey said. “We’re coming tomorrow with that mindset: just to dominate and make sure that we get our country’s second medal in this event."
After playing catch-up for much of the game, Canada got within three, 71-68, on a three-pointer from Mathurin with 7:40 remaining in the game. The USA then reeled off a 17-0 run to break the game open, taking a 20-point advantage, the largest of the game at 88-68, on a layup from Patrick Baldwin Jr. with 4:27 remaining.
Whenever Canada trimmed the lead and threatened to move ahead in Saturday’s game, the USA responded and remained in control. Though the Canadians trailed by five after one and 11 at the halftime break, Canada pulled within a point, 57-56, with 4:35 remaining in the third. The USA then scored 10 straight points before a three from Nembhard stopped the run. Canada trailed by six, 69-63, heading into the fourth.
The Canadians finished the game shooting 35 percent from the floor, while making 16-of-25 free throws. Ultimately, though, it was the 3:43-minute scoring drought in the fourth where Canada was unable to slow the USA that put the game out of reach.
"They just made shots,” Edey said. “We got lackadaisical. We gave up some open shots. Other than that run in the fourth quarter, we were the better team, but we just cannot let up for two or three minutes. That was the story of the game."
Coming into the game, the USA led the tournament with 52.8 bench points per game. In Saturday’s contest, they didn’t reach their average, but did show off how crucial their depth was, outscoring Canada significantly in bench points.
With the loss, Canada will now play in the bronze medal game for third place at 9 a.m. ET on Sunday. They will face the loser of Saturday’s other semifinal game between France and Serbia.