Photo credit Freestyle Photography
SHENZHEN, China (CIS) – Warren Ward scored Canada’s first eight points in overtime, while the undersized Canadians flashed their speed and resiliency to down Turkey 85-75 in their Pool B men’s basketball opener on Saturday morning at the 2011 Summer Universiade.
Canada (1-0) is back in action on Sunday night, when they face defending world university games champion Serbia at 8:30 p.m. local time (8:30 a.m. ET). The Serbians (1-0) defeated Australia 72–67 on Saturday.
Trailing 68-60 with five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Canada closed out regulation with a 13-to-5 run, using a Tyson Hinz free throw with 24 seconds left to tie the game at 73-73.
In extra time, the Canadians showcased their quickness and conditioning, running at Turkey from the opening whistle. Ward, a native of London, Ont., scored the first six points, while Canada held its rivals to just two points in the extra frame, both on free throws, to close out the win.
“We went small ball in overtime, they were playing a zone and we went with our more offensive players to attack it, and it paid off,” said Team Canada head coach Kevin Hanson. “Warren has the ability to turn it on offensively and we needed someone to do that in overtime. He was getting stops in transition, he was getting offensive rebounds, and making plays off the dribble, he was just outstanding.”
Ward finished with 15 points, shooting 7-for-16 from the field, while Carleton University’s Cole Hobin of Ashton, Ont., led all Canadians with 16, adding ten rebounds for a double-double. Hinz, the 2010-11 CIS MVP, added 15 points, while UBC’s Nathan Yu reached double figures, scoring 11.
Birkan Batuk led Turkey with 23 points.
Batuk came off the Turkish bench on fire in the first quarter, scoring seven points during a 9-to-4 run to put Turkey up 17-12 with two minutes left in the stanza. The 6-foot-6 guard added another three and finished the quarter with 10 points to give his team a 24-20 lead after ten minutes.
Canada struggled from outside in the first half, connecting on only 2-of-12 three-point attempts, while Turkey opened up their largest lead of the opening 20 minutes, using a 7-0 run to lead 41-31 with 1:39 to play in the second quarter. The Canadians answered with a 5-0 run before the half, highlighted by a Ward three-pointer, to trail 41-36 at halftime.
“We weren’t happy with how we came out in the first half, but we were much more aggressive in the second half and didn’t back down,” added Hanson. “We held their leading scorer in check in the second half, [Hobin] locked him down and didn’t allow him to really touch the ball, and in overtime we could tell [Turkey] didn’t have any legs left.”
Canada appeared to have righted the ship in the third quarter, opening the period on a 9-0 run to take their first lead of the game since the early stages of the first frame. The Canadians opened up their largest lead of regulation in the third, at seven points (56-49) midway through the period, but Turkey closed the gap to four points (58-54) heading into the fourth.
Despite their size disadvantage, Canada out rebounded Turkey 49-35, including 16-to-9 on the offensive glass and forced 22 turnovers.