Canada opened the FIBA World championship tournament with an 81-70 loss to a high I.Q Spanish basketball team that caught fire from beyond the arch in the fourth quarter.
Overall, Spain shot 55% from the field thanks to strong ball movement, good shot selection and a lack of defensive cohesion from Canada. On the flipside, the Canadians shot only 39%.
Canada played tough defense in spurts, which forced turnovers for Spain, but needed a full game of intensity and defensive communication in order to close it out.
The first half was controlled by Spain, however Canada picked up late momentum, ending the half with a three-point make from Joe De Ciman to trim the deficit to six, 39-33.
By the end of the third quarter, the score was even at 54, thanks to a personal 7-0 run by Xavier Rathan-Mayes. However, as both teams entered the final frame, Spain went lights out from deep, nailing six of their 11 attempts, and kept a comfortable lead to eventual 81-70 victory.
Tyler Ennis lead Canada with 20 points, three rebounds and three assists-most of which came in the fourth. Trey Lyles put in 17 points and seven rebounds, however struggled from the field shooting 4 of 14. Rathan-Mayes also added 17 of his own on 7 of 15 from the field.
Duane Notice brought the defensive spark, guarding ball handlers with intensity, making them uncomfortable. Notice registered five points, seven rebounds and three steals.
All four mentioned starters however, contributed to 16 of the team’s 19 turnovers, which will need to be tightened up. The next game will be up against Croatia, which is no slouch.
The team understands that they must bring a stronger effort the rest of the way, but remain positive about their aspirations. It seems like the motto for this group is “Tough As One” as coaches and players have tweeted.
I like it.