Canadian Senior Men Make it Two in a Row at the 2011 FIBA Americas Championship
MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina – Canada’s Senior Men’s National Team picked up its second win in as many contests with an 84-62 victory over Cuba at the 2011 FIBA Americas Championship for Men on Friday.
The win was a big confidence booster says veteran center Jesse Young (Peterborough, ON), and, according to him, it’s proof that Canada (2-1) is a serious contender in the tournament.
“[Winning back-to-back games has] been huge,” Young said after the game. “We had a tough one against Brazil where I think we controlled that game for probably 37 minutes so to have a tough loss like that and have a bounce-back game like we did against [the] Dominican [Republic] and then to win today I think it shows that we’re here to contend for spot in the Olympics.”
Jevohn Shepherd’s (Toronto, ON) 13 points led a very balanced Canadian attack that ended up shooting 55 percent from the field and saw every player on the roster make at least one field goal.
Cuba’s (0-3) Yorman Polas recorded a game-high 14 points.
As good as Canada’s offence was in the affair, its defence, once again, was exceptional as it held Cuba to just 35 percent from the field.
The strong defensive play was highlighted by the Canucks’ first-quarter effort where they held the Cubans to just seven points while jumping on them offensively to lead at the end of the quarter 22-7, led by Carl English’s (St. John’s, NL) eight points in the period.
The second quarter proved to be a far more even affair but because of the substantial gap Canada created in the first, the team entered the dressing room at the half with a comfortable 38-20 lead.
During the second half of play, the lead would get trimmed down to as little as 14 points upon occasion but in the end that would be as close as Cuba would get as Canada’s blitz was far too great of margin to come back from.
The Senior Men’s next game will be against Venezuela (1-2), a team that last defeated Cuba on Thursday, 106-69.
Even though Venezuela has a losing record, Canadian head coach Leo Rautins is definitely not taking his team’s next match lightly.
“We still have a long way to go with Venezuela tomorrow and hopefully everything continues to go well,” the coach said. “One of the things we’re doing is not thinking about anything else other than our next game. Our guys have been pretty good about that.
“You get into a tournament like this and have your mind start wandering, thinking of all sort of possibilities. The only possibility that really matters is your next game.”
Tip-off time for the game will be at 11:30 am local time (10:30 am ET) and can be viewed live on television on TSN2 or streamed online at www.fibatv.com.
The full post-game recap and box score will be found at www.basketball.ca.
PHOTO COURTESY: AFP/ Getty Images