Monday, 16 July 2007

Canada Falls to Spain; Needs 2 wins to advance

Spain scored the first 13 points of the second half, breaking open a tight game and later survived a solid Canadian run to make things interesting to remain undefeated after a 83-69 win over Canada as the "Eight-round" began earlier today at the FIBA World U19 basketball championships in Serbia. Once again, Canada had trouble with Spain's big guys as 6'9" Javier Vega (16 points/8 rebounds in 33 minutes) and 6'9" Victor Claver (15 points, 4 rebounds including 3-3 from 3) had their way with Canada's smaller lineup. With the loss, Canada must defeat Korea tomorrow and then Argentina on Wednesday to garner any hope of qualifying for the quarter-finals. 6'2" Devoe Joseph and 6'6" Kai Williams led Canada with 21 points apiece with Williams finishing 4-5 from 3 and keeping Canada in the game at 41-34 at halftime with 13 first half points. Canada did a stellar job on Spain's guards as the point guard tandem of highly-touted 6'2" Quim Colom and 6'3" Richard Nguema combined for only 6 points and 6 turnovers with Canada forcing 23 turnovers in all. But Spain's bigs and their combination of inside/outside talent were too much for Canada to overcome. 6'4" shooting guard Xavier Forcada finished with 18 points and 9 rebounds for Spain (4-0) while 6'6" wing Jonathan House added 10 points for Canada (1-3).

With Spain up 59-38 with 5 minutes remaining in the third quarter after an 18-4 run, the Canadians quickly got back in the game by forcing turnovers and after a personal 8-2 run by Williams, Canada creeped back to within 9 at 63-54 but on the final possession of the quarter, the Spaniards worked the ball around to Nguema who made no mistake at the buzzer to extend Spain's lead back to 11. Canada was able to get it back to single digits on several occasions but never close than 8. Canada was within 3 at 18-16 when Claver hit a long three on the final possession of the first quarter and had it to 5 at 39-34 after a Williams jumper but again Spain hit a late shot on the quarter's final possession to take a 7 point lead into halftime.

Spain's big 3 of Vega, Claver and Forcada combined to go 18-24 (75%) from the floor, part of the Spaniards torrid 66% shooting as a team while Canada could only manage 36.5% from the floor including Williams 7 for 11 effort. Spain outrebounded Canada 43-34 however 14 of Canada's rebounds were on the offensive glass.

Canada meets Korea tomorrow in a must-win situation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well Done Kai, nice to see your name there, keep on doing what you do best.
Saskatchewan is rooting for you.