Arop, Olynyk Help Canada Advance In FIBA U19 Event

July 4, 2009

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Canada's Junior Men's Team played a strong Spanish squad at the FIBA U19 World Championship on Saturday, losing 82-75, but still managed to advance to the second round of the tournament with a 1-2 record.

Gonzaga-bound Mangisto Arop (Edmonton) led Team Canada, scoring 17 points and grabbing six rebounds, followed by Marc Trasolini (Vancouver) who amassed 14 points and eight rebounds. Tristan Thompson (Brampton, Ont.) contributed 14 points and six boards, while Kelly Olynyk (Kamloops. B.C.), also headed to the Bulldogs this fall, collected a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds.

Arop is fifth in scoring through the first round, averaging 18.3 ppg, while Olynyk is tied for fourth in rebounding at 8.7 rpg through three games.

While Canada was dominant defensively, outrebounding the Spaniards 46-26, the team struggled from the perimeter, shooting a dismal 18 per cent compared to Spain's 48 per cent. Spanish Guard Daniel Perez had five three's on the night and led all scorers with 29 points in 35 minutes.

Spain opened the game with a three-pointer and Canada stayed with the team in a close matchup, but fell behind by seven at the halfway point of the first quarter as Spain led 12-5. Canada pulled to within two thanks to a deuce and free throw by Olynyk, but turnovers by the Canadians coupled with sharp shooting by Spain's Perez (who amassed 12 points in the first period) caused Canada to fall behind 23-12 at the end of the quarter.

Olynyk continued to fight in the second, particularly on the boards, collecting five rebounds in the first half of the game. The talented duo of Thompson and Corey Joseph helped to bring the game to 28-21 near the seven-minute mark. A quick steal and bucket by Joseph made it 28-24 and Spain was forced to call a timeout with 6:30 left in the period.

Trasolini stepped up with two boards and a deuce to tie the game at 28, but a pair of three's by Spanish guards Alex Hernandez an Jorge Santana made it 34-30. Even though Canada outscored Spain in the second quarter 21-15, they struggled from the perimeter going 0 for 7, while the Spaniards shot 50 per cent. They managed to hold on to the lead 38-33 at the end of the half.



The third quarter started the same as the first with three's by Spain's Eduardo Martinez and Santana to make it 44-33 with 8:45 left. Canada's Thompson again took charge, scoring a pair of buckets. After a tough unsportsmanlike foul by Martinez on Thompson, the top-ranked power forward made several free throws to bring the score to 46-42 at the six-minute mark.

But Canada continued to struggle from the three-point line, and Perez continued to cause problems for the red-and-white with his perimeter game, helping Spain to pull away 57-44. Canada was forced to call a timeout with just under three minutes left. A couple of buckets by Trasolini and a three-pointer by Arop at the buzzer brought Canada to within nine points to end the third (62-53).

In the fourth, Arop continued to bring his momentum offensively and on the boards as he racked up two rebounds and five points to make it 64-61 in the first two minutes. Jordan Baker (Edmonton), who had already contributed seven points, six boards and three steals, added a bucket to tie the game at 65 and Spain called a timeout with 6:30 left.

Trasolini came on hard with a rebound, steal, block and bucket and Olynyk's three gave Canada the lead 70-69 for the first time in the match. After a timeout by Canada at the three-minute mark, Spain's Santana scored two while teammate Perez hit a three to bring it to 77-70 with one minute remaining. Arop answered with a three of his own, closing the lead to four but Canada's missed shots and fouls down the stretch gave Spain the win 82-75.

Canada sits in second place in Group C behind Australia. With Spain's win, they are the third and final squad in the group to move on. Syria, the final country in the group, will not advance and will play in the consolation/classification games.

After a one-day break, the tournament will resume Monday with the top 12 teams competing in a second round robin. The top eight countries will advance to the final round (sudden death format). The first round of competition has been completed, and 12 teams - Argentina, Australia, Canada, Croatia, Egypt, France, Greece, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Puerto Rico, Spain and the USA - have advanced to the second round.Angola, Iran, New Zealand and Syria will play off for positions 13-16 in classification games.

Canada will play Croatia Monday, Kazakhstan Tuesday and Argentina Wednesday in Eight-Finale-Round play.

Canada opened the tournament with an 88-77 setback to Australia. Arop scored 27 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead the Canadians. Olynyk had 11 points and five boards. Canada won its second game, romping past Syria 99-53. Arop had 11 points and four rebounds in 13 minutes, while Olynyk had 10 points and 8 rebounds in 22 minutes.

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