Summer Universiade M BBall (Aug 17): Canada closing in on quarter-finals
Photo credit Freestyle Photography
SHENZHEN, China (CIS) – It wasn’t the result they had hoped for, but a 63-61 loss to Australia on Wednesday morning should be enough to lift the Canadian men to the quarter-final round of the Summer Universiade basketball tournament.
STATISTICS: CAN vs. AUS
The Canucks close out the preliminary round against winless Hong Kong tomorrow at 6 p.m. local time (6 a.m. ET), while Australia and Turkey face off earlier in the day at 12:30 p.m. Canada will go into its pool finale as a heavy favourite, Hong Kong having lost its first three contents by a combined score of 289-154.
Should Canada and Australia both win on Thursday, creating a three-way tie for first, Serbia (+2) would hold the tie-breaker thanks to a better point differential in games played between the three teams, and the Canadians (+1) would finish second. Should Canada win and Australia lose, the Red and White would move up to first place ahead of the Serbians thanks to a 70-67 head-to-head victory on Sunday.
“It’s not the way we planned it but we’ll take it,” said Team Canada head coach Kevin Hanson. “We knew we had a three-point cushion to play with in case of a loss, but obviously you’d rather get the win, you don’t want to have to do the math after the game. We still have to beat Hong Kong tomorrow though.”
“In an international tournament like this one, where you play a lot of games in a short time, I really believe it’s important to get into a rhythm,” added the University of British Columbia sideline boss, who previously led Canada to Universiade bronze in 2003 and to an eighth-place finish in 2005. “We were coming off a two-day break while Australia played Hong Kong yesterday. I really think that hurt us today.”
Canada overcame deficits of 16-10 after one quarter, 37-25 at halftime and 49-41 after 30 minutes to salvage the two-point loss.
In a wild finish, UBC guard Nathan Yu of Prince George, B.C., made it 63-61 Australia with 22.2 seconds left in regulation on a decisive drive inside. On Australia’s ensuing possession, Concordia guard Kyle Desmarais of Montreal intercepted a pass deep in his zone and ran the ball back all the way to the Aussie basket, but missed an easy lay-up that would have tied the affair at 63.
Australia recovered the ball with 10.8 seconds remaining but couldn’t add to its lead, the contest ending when a three-point attempt by Cameron Gliddon hit the Canadian rim but refused to fall.
“It’s a weird feeling because part of me was hoping Kyle wouldn’t make that lay-up, because if he makes it and we go to overtime, who knows what can happen,” said Hanson. “But at the same time, we’re all competitive and we wanted him to score.”
Tyson Hinz, a Carleton University forward from Ottawa paced Team Canada with a game-high 22 points including nine in the third quarter alone. Midway through the third frame, the reigning Canadian Interuniversity Sport player of the year scored seven straight points to bring his team back from a 14-point deficit to within five, at 39-34.
“Tyson had to be the guy getting the touches. He’s so smart and quick, he’s almost impossible to defend one-on-one,” said Hanson. “He’s just a winner. And sometimes, in a must-win game like today, you have to jump on the back of a winner.”
“We didn’t make it easy on ourselves today,” said Hinz, who shot 8-of-13 from the floor and was 5-of-7 from the free throw line in 26:55 of court time. “We didn’t play well on defence. We missed our share of easy shots, but at our end we gave them way too many easy ones as well.”
After jumping out to a quick 7-3 lead, Canada was outscored 11-0 over the next five minutes en route to the 16-10 deficit at the end of an opening quarter that saw the Canucks shot a dismal 4-for-16 from the floor.
The offensive woes continued in the second stanza for the Canadians, who finished the first half with a 26.7 field goal percentage (8-30) including 1-of-8 from beyond the arc, while their opponents shot 42.9 per cent overall (12-28) and 46.1 from three-point range (6-13).
Hinz led his squad at the half with eight points, while Gliddon scored 13 of his 19 points in the first 20 minutes for Australia, including back-to-back three-pointers in the final moments before the break.
In the third, the Australians were up by as much as 14 and led 49-36 in the final minute. The Canadians scored the last five points of the frame however including a Desmarais three with two seconds left on the clock.
Early in the fourth, Hinz hit from long range and then set up an alley hoop by Michael Lieffers of Saskatoon to cut the deficit to 53-50. But Gliddon once again hurt Canada with a three to make it a 62-55 affair with four minutes to go.
Hinz used his trademark spin move to make it 62-59 with 40 seconds left before Yu closed out the scoring from up close with 22.2 remaining.
Lieffers, with 13 points, and Desmarais, with 10, also scored in double digits in the loss. Lieffers also had a match-high eight rebounds.
Canada shot 33.8 per cent (21-62) for the game compared to 41.5 (22-53) for the Aussies, who made eight three-pointers (8-21) while the Canadians could only convert three of 13 long range attempts.
The Red and White dominated 47 to 35 in rebounds including 12-3 on the offensive boards.
Both teams struggled from the free throw line, Canada going 16-for-28 (57.1%) and Australia 11-for-25 (44.0%).