Photo Courtesy: Canada Basketball

U19 Team Canada has made history today by defeating France 73-67 in the Quarter Finals.

This marks the first time Canada has ever advanced to the Semi-Finals of the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup.

The dynamic duo of Rowan Barrett Jr. and Abu Kigab powered Canada in this close contest. They combined for 42 points on 54% shooting from the field.

Lindell Wigginton did not play in this match because of concussion symptoms. This meant Jordan Henry would get the start.

Game Recap

 

Kigab and Barrett set the tone very early in the game. The first two points came from Kigab finding Barrett on a backdoor cut in which he then threw down with authority.

The Oregon commit was heavily involved in everything Canada did in the first quarter and for most of the game. As active as Kigab was on both ends, Barrett was putting on an offensive clinic.

Barrett scored eight of Canada’s 15 points in the first quarter and the 17-year-old topped it off with a grown man move against at least two French defenders.

The second quarter became a major part of Barrett’s coming out party. Barrett showed the world exactly what he’s capable of. The young Canadian is capable of taking over a game and scoring at will through any amount of defenders.

Photo Courtesy: FIBA

A stretch of three straight possessions, Barrett took the ball into the lane and  finished very tough shots through multiple defenders. His pure strength and athleticism was on display as he contorted his body to get the ball up without getting it blocked.

Barrett carried the offensive workload and shot an efficient 6/8 from the field at halftime. Canada led 35-25 at the break.

France came out of the break on a mission to close the gap and that’s just what they did taking the game to Canada. They came out the hungrier team.

As Canada’s lead started slipping away, Kigab stepped up. He knocked down two big time threes to bring their lead back up to double digits.

Kigab also secured his third straight double-double in the third quarter.

In the fourth, Canada started turning the ball over far too often and that allowed France to come back in the game. It took Canada’s leaders, Barrett and Kigab, to step up and close the game out.

Barrett demanded the ball in the final minutes of the game. He wanted to be the one to re-write history for Canada. Barrett and the rest of U19 Team Canada accomplished just that. 

Grant Shephard (Kelowna, B.C.) played extended minutes (17) and did not disappoint coach Ray Rana. The UBC commit scored 12 points on 4/5 shooting from the field and even hooked up with Henry for a beautiful alley-ooo in the fourth.

Henry got the start in place of the injured Wigginton and was a defensive gem in the first half. Henry took two massive charge fouls when France seemed to be gaining the momentum.

Noah Kirkwood played a solid role in the backup PG role. He might have earned more minutes based on this performance. The versatile guard showed he has the ability to handle the ball and control the tempo.

Coach Rana spoke about Barrett’s stellar performance saying, “These are the moments where players arrive. And he arrived today. He delivered on the biggest stage of his career.” 

As a team Canada shot 43.6% from the field and only 33.3% from beyond the arc. These areas and the careless turnovers must be improved if they want to have a chance of beating the USA.

 

Top Performers

 

Rowan Barrett Jr.: 27 points | 5 rebounds | 4 assists | 1 steal

Abu Kigab: 17 points | 15 rebounds | 6 assists | 1 steal | 1 block

Grant Shephard: 12 points | 5 rebounds | 1 assist

Noah Kirkwood: 4 points | 3 rebounds | 1 assist | 2 steals

Jordan Henry: 5 assists | 4 points

 

Up Next

 

Photo Courtesy: FIBA

Canada will be playing the number one ranked USA team at 2:30 PM on July 8 in the Semi-Finals of the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup. The Junior boys will have to use all the momentum from this win to upset John Calipari’s boys.

There is still no word as to if Wigginton will be ready to play tomorrow.

Devon Imrie

Written by Devon Imrie

Devon Imrie is a 22-year-old journalist from Mississauga, Ontario. Contributor for North Pole Hoops. As a third year journalism student at Humber College he has taken in basketball at various levels providing National team coverage, high school and NPH Exposure Camps.

Website: https://twitter.com/devonimrie10

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