U19 Team Canada cruises past Mali in opener
The U19 Men’s National Team easily defeats Mali 91-42 in the opening game in Cairo, Egypt of the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup.
Canada put in a complete team performance at the Cairo Stadium with every member getting on the score sheet.
Rowan Barrett Jr. led the way for Canada posting a double-double (20p, 11r) in just over 20 minutes of action.
Barrett is the number one ranked player in the world for his class and playing up in age group is only improving his game.
He was dominant early on flying above the rim to finish strong and stepping back and hitting a three as well. Defensively, Barrett cut into passing lanes coming up with two steals.
You better get out of the way when R.J. Barrett 🇨🇦 (@ball6islife) is coming!
— FIBA (@FIBA) July 1, 2017
Lindell Wigginton was another standout in the first half. Despite the Iowa State commit’s poor shooting day, he was attacking the boards and pushing the ball up the floor and finding the open man.
His quickness, body control and court vision allowed him to have a game high seven assists.
Abu Kigab was a bully down low using his physicality to get offensive boards and then finishing while getting hacked on multiple occasions.
The Oregon commit went 7/13 from the field and also grabbed seven rebounds.
Canada took a commanding 49-25 lead at halftime.
The game began to get out of hand as Canada’s talent became too overpowering for Mali.
Darling spread the floor hitting four shots from the perimeter. He made more than half of his team’s threes in the game. Both Darling and Kirkwood provide instant offense off the bench.
Henry finished perfect from the field and controlled the tempo for a lot of the second half without Wigginton on the court.
Canada finished the game very strong defensively. They held Mali to only 17 points in the second half compared to 25 in the first.
As a team they shot 42% from the field and grabbed an incredible 73 total rebounds.
However, Canada needs to improve as the tournament continues. Top teams will punish the Junior Boys if they have continue to have 20+ turnovers.
Free throws are also a concern that has to be adjusted for this team to reach their maximum potential. Going 10/22 from the line won’t be good enough moving forward past the group phase.
Without underestimating other teams, USA is the team to beat.
Rowan Barrett Jr.: 20 points | 11 rebounds | 3 assists | 2 steals
Lindell Wigginton: 6 points | 7 rebounds | 7 assists | 2 steals
Abu Kigab: 15 points | 7 rebounds | 1 assist | 1 steal
Nathan Darling: 14 points | 2 rebounds | 2 assists
Noah Kirkwood: 8 points | 4 rebounds | 2 assists | 1 steal
Jordan Henry: 5 points | 3 rebounds | 2 assists
Canada will take on Spain on July 2 at 10:00 AM in hopes to stay atop Group C. Spain defeated Japan 78-67 in their opening game. You can catch the game here.