Kelly Olynyk Huge for Canada, Not Enough Against Argentina
Kelly Olynyk: 19 Points, 12 Rebounds
Jevohn Shepherd: 12 points
Carl English: 9 Points
MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina – The Senior Men’s National Team began the second phase of the 2011 FIBA Americas Championship with a 79-53 loss to the host country, Argentina. With the loss, Canada bring their record to 2-3; while Argentina pushes their undefeated record to 5-0.
Despite the loss, head coach, Leo Rautins views the loss as an important step forward for his team.
“Knowing the strength of Argentina’s veteran roster, tonight’s focus was preparation for tomorrow’s game against Puerto Rico,” said Rautins.
Leading the way offensively for Canada was Kelly Olynyk (Kamloops, BC) who recorded a double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds in his first game in the starting lineup of the tournament. Jevohn Shepherd (Toronto, ON) continued his strong play with 12 points, and Carl English (St. John’s NL) added nine.
“We were really pleased that Kelly bounced back with a great game and that we had an opportunity to limit the minutes for our core players, given the quick turnaround to the morning game tomorrow,” continued Rautins, who was impressed with Olynyk’s performance.
Canada started the game strong, holding their own against the lone undefeated team playing in their home arena, but after the late run, Argentina took a 21-9 first quarter lead.
Canada continued to battle into the second quarter, with Olynk leading the charge capped-off by a fast break dunk to cut the lead to five halfway through the second quarter. However, Argentina went on a 12-2 run to take a 15 point lead after one half of play.
The third quarter started off fast for Canada, with a Joel Anthony (Montreal, QC) bucket, followed by a lay-up by English, which cut the Argentina lead to 11. Despite two late three-pointers by Andy Rautins (Syracuse, NY), this would be the closest Canada would get in the quarter.
The fourth quarter saw Argentina’s Luis Scola and Andres Nocioni score a combined 20 points in the frame to keep Canada from making a comeback en route to the victory.
For Argentina, Scola finished with a game-high 22 points, while Carlos Delfino added 17.
Canada’s next action is on Tuesday, September 6 against Puerto Rico.
Tip-off is set for 11:30 local time (10:30 am ET) and can be seen live on TSN2 and FIBATV.com.