Summer Universiade men’s basketball (Aug. 18): Canada finishes first in pool
Photo credit Freestyle Photography
SHENZHEN, China (CIS) – The Canadian men's basketball team is through the preliminary round and are off to the quarter-finals following an 83-50 drubbing of Hong Kong Thursday evening at the 26th Summer Universiade. Canada will play on Saturday against Romania in the medal round.
STATISTICS: CAN v.s. HKG
The Canucks (3-1) got some help earlier in the day when Turkey (2-2) beat Australia (2-2), vaulting the Canadians ahead of both the Aussies and defending Universiade Champions Serbia (3-1) in Group B by virtue of Canada's 70-67 win over the Serbians.
Romania (3-2) finished in second place in Group A, needing to beat the United Arab Emirates in their final Group A game, coupled with the Czech Republic (3-2) downing Brazil (3-2), in order to punch their ticket to the quarter-finals.
"Winning the pool was a goal of ours when we began the tournament, so obviously we are quite happy with the win," said Team Canada head coach Kevin Hanson. "[Thursday] was a good opportunity to get everyone into the game, we were able to share the workload. At this stage of the tournament, bodies are starting to break down and getting any rest is a good thing."
Heading into Thursday night, the Canucks knew all they needed was a win against Hong Kong (0-4), but came out tentatively in the first, with Hong Kong opening the night on a 7-0 run, while the game was tied 14-14 heading into the second.
From that point on it was all Red and White, as Canada started the quarter on an 18-to-4 run, to lead 40-22 at the half and 60-34 after three quarters.
Warren Ward of London, Ont., continues to find his name at the top of the scoresheet for Canada at this tournament, generating a game high 17 points. Five Canadians reached double figures in scoring, while the Canucks out rebounded Hong Kong 59-to-37, and forced 30 turnovers.
Canada will face a Romanian team that features the tournament's top scorer in Vlad Moldoveanu. Through five games Moldoveanu is averaging 22.2 points per game, while the Romanians are the fourth best three-point shooting team in Shenzhen at 35.8 per cent.
"We were looking at [Romania] tonight on film, they have the leading scorer and they seem to be going with a shorter rotation," said Hanson. "We are going to be undersized again, they are a talented bunch, but we feel we have been tested by some very physical teams to this point, and have had some close games, we are battle ready."
Canada is looking for their first gold medal in men's basketball since 1983, when the Canadians downed the former Yugoslavia 83-68 in Edmonton for their lone first place finish. Canada last medaled at the Summer Universiade in men's basketball in 2007, when the team won bronze in Bangkok.