The Canadian Junior Boys lose a tough match 78-73 to Spain in the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup.
Canada’s inability to cash in at the charity stripe cost them 15 points and was the major difference down the stretch.
Canada was led by Abu Kigab who scored a team high 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the loss.
Kigab was one of the few players with a good shooting percentage in this contest. However, it was his energy on both ends of the floor that kept Canada close throughout the game. He finished the game shooting 7/14 from the field.
Although Canada held an early 16-11 lead in the first quarter, star forward, Rowan Barrett Jr. couldn’t find his stroke. Barrett attacked the rim relentlessly and got to the free throw line consistently but his struggles carried over to the line.
Canada saw their lead quickly evaporate in the final 2:30 minutes of the first because of Spain getting second chance opportunities. Canada didn’t help their own cause by only scoring two points in that time.
Even though they finished the quarter poorly, Canada came out with good energy to start the second. Starting PG Lindell Wigginton created high percentage looks for himself.
However, the story of the match held true in the second. The Junior Boys’ struggles at the line stopped any momentum they were able to build.
In the final seconds of the first half, Spain knocked down a three from the logo to give them a 39-33 lead.
The deep three to end the half seemed to light a fire under Canada. They came out firing in the third quarter.
6’9 forward Amidou Bamba and Barrett were both getting it done with high energy and intensity.
Bamba’s presence down low was huge for Canada. Not only was he able to get a block but he also altered shots and closed out defensive possessions.
Despite Barrett not shooting the ball well, he was able to affect the game in other ways, as star players do. Defensively Barrett picked pockets; coming away with five steals and running the floor finding the open man.
Canada’s stretch forward, Danilo Djuricic started finding his range in the third quarter knocking down a pair of triples.
Djuricic’s two three pointers were half of Canada’s made threes in the match. Being able to only hit 4/20 from beyond the arc was another big reason they couldn’t claw back.
Canada would get within one or two points of Spain but they were never able to take the lead in the fourth quarter. Spain’s ability to go back the other way and score killed off any little run Canada would make.
Kigab did everything he could to try and carry the team by attacking the rim while finishing consistently.
In the end, the St. Catherines, ON native and the rest of Canada were unable to execute at the line in the fourth.
Going 21/36 at the free throw line is nowhere near good enough against the top teams in the tournament.
On a positive note, it is hard to believe they will have another all around very poor shooting match like this one.
Also, Canada did a much better job taking care of the rock as they only turned the ball over 13 times.
Abu Kigab: 16 points | 8 rebounds | 1 steal
Prince Oduro: 14 points | 6 rebounds
Lindell Wigginton: 11 points | 7 rebounds | 1 assist
Rowan Barrett Jr.: 10 points | 6 assists | 5 steals | 3 rebounds
Danilo Djuricic: 10 points | 2 rebounds | 1 assist | 1 block
Amidou Bamba: 3 points | 5 rebounds | 1 block
The Canada U19’s have a rest day tomorrow but will be back in Group C action on July 4 at 7:45 AM when they go against Japan. With this loss, Canada will most likely finish second in the group behind Spain and will play the third place team in Group D in the Round of 16.