Arop's 22 Points Not Enough As Canada Falls

July 6, 2009

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Canada's U19 Men's Team lost a hard fought match against Croatia 83-77 on Monday to open the second round of the FIBA World Championship.

The Canadians struggled offensively in the first half but recovered in the third to take the lead. Dominant perimeter shooting by Croatia in the fourth sealed the win for the Europeans.

Canada did control the game in the paint 38-20, but Croatia controlled the perimeter and was almost perfect from the free-throw line making 19 out of 20 shots.

Canadian point guard Cory Joseph (Pickering, Ont.) topped Team Canada with 24 points and eight rebounds. Mangisto Arop (Edmonton) contributed 22 points with five boards and is in fifth place in the tournament for points per game with 19.3. Arop will play for Gonzaga University this fall.

Croatia's Toni Prostran led all scorers with 29 points, adding seven rebounds and six assists, while teammate Mario Delas racked up 26 points and 10 rebounds. Delas is the tournament's leading scorer, averaging 25 ppg.

The game started with Delas scoring a pair of buckets, but Canada's Marc Trasolini (Vancouver) answered right back to make it 7-6 at the six-minute mark. Croatia went on an 8-1 run as the Canadians turned over the ball six times.

Unfortunately the baskets were also not falling for the red-and-white as Delas collected 14 points and Croatia ended the first quarter with an 18-11 lead.

The score remained the same for the first two minutes of the second until Canada's Kelly Olynyk (Kamloops, B.C.), also bound for Gonzaga in the fall, hit two and a free throw to make it 18-14. Croatia's Prostran followed with the next three baskets, adding eight points to make it 26-16 with just under six minutes in the half. While Canada tried to chip away at the deficit, the Croatia was powerful offensively, leading by as many as 12 points. At the half Croatian centre Delas and guard Prostran had tallied 18 points apiece bringing the score to 43-31.

Olynyk finished with 8 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocked shots.



In the third, Canada got on the board first with a pair of buckets by Joseph and Trasolini and some free throws to come within five with just under eight minutes left. Canada was also strong defensively collecting six boards, and a push by Joseph (who had 12 in the quarter) and Arop helped the team take the lead at the three-minute mark. The red-and-white dominated Croatia in the third, scoring 23 points to Croatia's seven, ending the period on top 54-50.

The fourth started with Croatia going on a 7-2 run to regain the lead 57-56 with just over seven minutes left in the game. Croatia's Dino Butorac made three consecutive three-pointers, and along with a trey and bucket by Delas, gave Croatia the lead 68-61 and forced a Canadian timeout with five minutes left.

While Jordan Baker (Edmonton) scored a quick two the team struggled to make shots, missing the next four attempts, and with a minute left in the game Croatia led 74-63. Arop added two buckets and a perimeter shot to make it 78-70 with 30 seconds left, and Joseph's deuce and trey brought Canada to within six but time ran out, giving Croatia the win 83-77.

Canada will play Kazakhstan on Tuesday followed by a matchup against Argentina on Wednesday to close the second round robin. Canada must win these games to have a chance to make the quarterfinals.

Overall the teams that finish 1st to 4th in Group E (Egypt, Lituania, France, Puerto Rico, USA, Greece) & Group F (Kazakhstan, Australia, Croatia, Canada, Argentina, Spain) will qualify for the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals. The teams that finish 5th and 6th in each group will qualify for the Classification Round for 9th to 12th places.

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