Arop, Olynyk Help Canada Advance To U19 Quarterfinals

July 8, 2009

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Canada's Junior Men's National Team (JMNT) beat Argentina 67-57 on Wednesday to advance to the quarter-final round of the FIBA U19 World Championship.

Top ranked guard Corey Joseph (Pickering, Ont.) was excellent in the key, leading all scorers with 20 points.

Mangisto Arop (Edmonton), who will attend Gonzaga University in the fall, followed Joseph with 18 points for the red-and-white. Ty Nurse (Vancouver) and Tristan Thompson both made their mark off the bench, scoring eight and seven respectively, while Kelly Olynyk, also headed for Gonzaga, was the top rebounder with seven boards.

JMNT Head Coach Greg Francis was pleased with his team's performance.

"Our guys came out focused and played four solid quarters of basketball as well as strong defence," said Francis. "They worked hard to earn this berth into the quarter-finals and I am very proud of them. We now plan to focus on the crossover match this Friday."

The Canadians have been a great force defensively and currently sit as the second best rebounding team in the tournament.

"It was a great team effort today," said Joseph, who continued to shine offesively after scoring 24 on Monday and 20 on Tuesday. "We were all ready and came out to play."

Argentina's Lisandro Rasio led his team with 14 points and seven rebounds, followed by Luciano Gonzalez who added 12 points and five boards.

Canada got on the scoreboard first with a two from Jordan Baker (Edmonton). Teammates Olynyk and Thompson each added a pair. But it was all Joseph to start the game as the 6'2" point guard raked in nine points in just over five minutes forcing Argentina to call a timeout. Argentine forward Rasio tried to get some momentum going for his team, collecting six in the first quarter along with forward Mateo Gaynor who added four. Despite a last minute Argentine push, Canada held on to close out the first period 21-17.

Argentina's Gonzalez had a steal and two buckets to start the second quarter as the blue-and-white went on an 8-0 run, taking the lead 25-21. Canada missed three key shots and collected two turnovers leading to a timeout with eight minutes remaining. Mangisto Arop scored a couple of quick two's and a pair of free throws to bring the red and white back to within one at 28-29. With just over one minute left in the period, Canada managed to tie the game at 34 apiece, where the score stood until a final bucket by Joseph with six seconds to go to end the half 36-34.



In the third quarter, the Canadians continued to provide some great highlights led by Joseph and Arop. Midway through the quarter, Arop made a two handed flush off an Argentine turnover to give the team a four-point lead 44-40 with 5:30 to go. Joseph followed with a tough two in the lane to make it 46 -40 and Argentina had to call a timeout. Canada did not let up as Thompson delivered an impressive dunk on Argentine forward Gaynor. Argentina managed to come back to within five with 50 seconds left but Canadian co-captain Nurse hit a big three with 1.4 seconds left on the clock to end the quarter 54-45.

Nurse started the fourth with another bucket but the team then struggled to make shots. Argentina's captain, Pablo Orlietti, hit a three to make it 56-51 with seven minutes to go. Joseph hit a deuce and Argentina's Rasio followed suit. Arop scored a basket off a missed three from Joseph to make it 60-53 at the halfway point. Argentina's Federico Glinberg missed a dunk on a fast break, and Canada took charge. Nurse scored a deep three with seven on the shot clock to give Canada a 10-point lead. Argentina tried to chip away within the last two minutes, but Canada managed to hold to win 67-57.

"This win really helps us," Thompson told after the game. "It gives us some mojo to take into the next round."

Teammate Joseph is also looking ahead to the quarter-finals. "We just have to refocus for our next opponent and do the things we need to do."

With this win, Canada closed out the round in a three-way tie with Argentina and Spain for third in "Group F" with a 3-3 record. The first tiebreaker, according to FIBA rules, is records among the three teams, which left them still tied as Argentina had beaten Spain and Spain had beaten Canada. Next, came goal average, with Argentina winning out based on their goal average in the games among the three teams at 1.05, with Canada second at 1.02 and Spain last at 0.94.

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