Punta del Este, Uruguay – Less than twenty-four hours after suffering an emotional overtime semi-final defeat at the hands of Argentina, the Cadet National Team showed their resilience at the FIBA Americas by capturing the Bronze medal with a 62-50 victory over Puerto Rico on Saturday afternoon. The Cadets were challenged by an energetic Puerto Rican squad who also had a bad taste in their mouths after a 93-64 loss to the United States in their semi-final tilt.
Both teams seemed to have tired legs to start the game, but it was the Puerto Ricans who took a 25-21 lead into half.
The lead would switch hands a few times throughout the second half, but it was a Brandon Cyrus three-pointer midway through the fourth quarter that would give Canada a 50-48 lead, and was the start of a 12-2 run to end the game.
Jordan Brand MVP Jamal Murray continued to make a name for himself on the World stage leading the Cadets with 15 points, three assists and four steals. Murray finished the tournament averaging a team-high 17 points per game over six contests.
Eddie Ekiyor and Justin Jackson combined for 18 rebounds, as Canada would win the battle of the boards 43-37. Both were among the leaders in rebounding coming into the final game averaging 8.6 and 8.2 rebounds respectively.
The Cadets finished the tournament with a 5-1 record, and had already clinched a berth to the 2014 U17 FIBA World Championship following a perfect 3-0 record in the qualifying round.
The country can be proud with the heart and desire to win that these young men displayed wearing the maple leaf on their chest.
Full game stats can be viewed here.