Summer Universiade men’s basketball (Aug. 22): Canada returns home with silver
Photo credit Freestyle Photography
SHENZHEN, China (CIS) – They had dominated teams in the second half throughout the 26th Summer Universiade, but on Monday night, on the biggest stage, Canada’s dreams of gold faded away over the final 20 minutes, as Serbia prevailed 68-55 to claim their second straight FISU men’s basketball championship.
STATISTICS: CAN v.s. SRB
The game marked Canada’s fifth all-time appearance in a FISU men’s basketball final and their fourth silver medal, the first since placing second in 1997 in Sicily, Italy. Canada was hoping for its second Universiade title, 28 years after its triumph in Edmonton.
It was also Canada’s seventh overall medal at the Shenzhen
The Canadians had previously beaten Serbia 70-67 in their second match during pool play but the story of Monday night’s game was Canada’s anemic offensive performance in the second half. The Canadians shot a paltry 4-for-26 in the final two quarters, unable to even hit one field goal in the third after leading 34-32 at halftime.
Mladen Jeremic scored 17 points in the win, as the Serbians used their significant size advantage to create space in the half court, slowing the game to a crawl over the final 20 minutes to win.
“I’m really not sure what happened, we just started missing shots and couldn’t get into any type of rhythm,” said Team Canada head coach Kevin Hanson of the second half. “It’s been a tremendous journey, I’ve loved working with our coaching staff, our training staff and these players have been just tremendous. With only four days to work together before this tournament started, I don’t think a lot of people back home thought we would make it this far, this is a gutsy group of guys and I am extremely proud.”
Ottawa’s Tyson Hinz and Nathan Yu of Prince George, B.C., tied for the team lead with 14 points for Canada in the loss. Hinz generated the first ten points of the game for Canada but was held without a field goal for the remaining 36 minutes, missing his next 13 attempts from the floor.
“All the credit goes to Serbia, they stayed aggressive and we just weren’t aggressive enough,” said Hinz, who won the 2011 CIS national championship as a student at Carleton University and is the reigning CIS player of the year. “Our goal was to win gold, and to come this close is tough. This group did a great job to come together in such short a time, but we were one win away from what we wanted to accomplish.”
Throughout the tournament, it had been the third quarter when Canada was putting opponents away, but in the finale to say the Canadians offence during the frame was lackluster would be kind. Canada was held to a tournament low six points during the period, and were unable to hit one field goal, fortunate to trail by only nine (49-40) heading into the fourth.
“I take the blame, we were trying to get Tyson quality
looks, but we could never seem to get rolling,” said Yu, a
point guard at the University of British Columbia. “We were
trying to run, and they were able to slow us down. It’s been
an amazing experience, I’m proud to have been given this
opportunity and I think our performance here speaks volumes about
Hinz scored the opening ten points for the Canadians to open the first quarter on a 10-to-7 run, connecting on his first four shots of the game, including back-to-back three-pointers. Canada led by as much as four points in the first, and headed into the second clinging to a 19-17 advantage.
In the second quarter, the Canadians led twice by three points,
but neither team seemed to find their offensive rhythm in the
frame, and the Canucks went into the half up 34-32.
Serbia pulled away in the fourth, while Yu, Edmonton’s Jordan Baker and Toronto’s Boris Bakovic all fouled out before the night was done. Serbia finished the game shooting 47 per cent from the field (23-for-49) and won despite being out rebounded by Canada 41-to-35.
In the bronze medal game, Lithuania came back from a 35-24 halftime deficit to beat Russia 76-74. Ernestas Ezerskis led the Lithuanians with 25 points.
MEDALS IN MEN’S BASKETBALL AT THE UNIVERSIADE
1983 (Edmonton, Canada): 83-68 win over Yugoslavia in final
2011 (Shenzhen, China)
1997 (Sicily, Italy)
1993 (Buffalo, USA)
1991 (Sheffield, England)
2007 (Bangkok, Thailand)
2003 (Daegu, South Korea)
1995 (Fukuoka, Japan)
1985 (Kobe, Japan)