Olynyk, Canada Lose FIBA Americas Championship Opener
MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina - Gonzaga University junior Kelly Olynyk scored three points, but Canada's Men's National Senior Team dropped its opening game in the FIBA America Championship Wednesday 69-57 to Brazil.
Canada trailed 47-46 after three quarters, but a 22-11 final quarter turned the tables for Brazil as Canada shot just 32.8 percent from the field for the game.
Head coach Leo Rautins said the poor shooting was more a case of bad luck than bad execution.
Rautins was pleased by his team's defensive effort, however.
"Thinking positively, defensively we did a lot of good things and we can be a very, very good defensive team if we stay focused and stay within what we're trying to do," the coach said.
Canada's defense was pretty good, holding Brazil (2-0) to just 36.1 percent shooting from the field. Unfortunately, there were stretches when the Canadians were unable to stop Brazil and, according to Canadian starting point guard Jermaine Anderson (Toronto, ON), those periods of time proved to be the difference.
"We knew coming in that it was going to be a tough game," Anderson said. "We knew they play very physical and they like to run a lot of pick-and-rolls. We had a good game plan but there was that five minute stretch in the first half and then that five minute stretch in the second half and that might have cost us the game."
Anderson scored a team-high nine points for Canada, including two 3-pointers. Cory Joseph (Pickering, ON) and Aaron Doornekamp (Odessa, ON) both scored eight points in the loss.
Olynyk made his lone 3-point attempt, grabbed one rebound and had a steal in six minutes of action.
For Brazil, it was Marcelo Huertas leading the way for his team, pouring in a game-high 17 points while dishing out six assists and collecting five rebounds. The final score is not a good indication of how the game was played as both teams battled hard, particularly on the defensive end.
The first quarter actually saw Canada leading 17-12 at the end of period, capped off by an impressive and-1 drive to the hoop from Anderson as he was fouled with under 10 seconds to play in the frame.
Quarter two was completely different from the first as Brazil came out gunning, going on a 14-2 run to start the period, putting them up 26-19 with 4:52 left, forcing Rautins to take a timeout.
After the timeout, Canada calmed down a little and chipped away a little at the lead, ending the half only down 33-28 after a quick crossover move from Joseph allowed him to get to the hoop and lay the ball in just before the buzzer.
The third quarter was more of a continuation of the game that was seen near the end of the second as both teams seesawed with each other. In this frame, Canada briefly held onto the lead after a nice put-back lay-up from Joel Anthony put the team up 39-38 with 4:39 left.
The final quarter proved to be the major difference in the game as Canada managed to take the lead after an Anderson trey with 8:56 to play, making the score 50-47.
Just as quickly as Canada managed to regain the lead, Brazil took it right back after Guilherme Giovannoni answered Anderson's shot with a 3-pointer of his own, sparking a 15-0 run from the Brazilians to put them up 65-53 with just under two and half minutes to play, effectively putting the game to rest.
Up next for Canada will be a Thursday game against the Dominican Republic (2-0), a team that defeated Venezuela (0-2) earlier in the day, 92-89, and Cuba (0-1), 90-60 on Tuesday.
Tip-off time is set for 2 p.m. PDT and the game can be viewed live on television on TSN2 as well as online at www.fibatv.com.
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