Friday, 20 July 2007

Canada Outlasts China; faces Lithuania tomorrow

6'7" Boris Bakovic's putback with 55 seconds remaining in overtime gave Canada the lead for good and then Canada survived a 4 for 6 effort at the line late that forced them to stop a late to 3 point attempt, giving our Jr. Nats a 94-90 victory over China at the FIBA U19 world championships in Serbia. After controlling the game for the first 35 minutes of regulation, Canada found themselves trailed by 4 with 2:40 remaining in the extra frame, but key players stepped up when it mattered and Canada prevailed. With the victory, Canada (4-3) will face Lithuania tomorrow in the ninth place game. Bakovic (20 points, 8 rebounds including 5 pts./3 rbs. in the overtime) and 6'2" Devoe Joseph (29 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists) keyed Canada's effort late in the fourth quarter and in the overtime as Canada, up comfortably early in the fourth quarter, had to fight their way back by scoring the final 6 points of regulation to force overtime. Joseph's jumper with 22 seconds remaining in regulation tied the game and then his jumper at the buzzer missed, forcing the overtime tied at 78. China then scored the first 5 points of overtime, but Bakovic, Joseph and 6'8" Scott Brittain (11 points, 10 rebounds) each had big hoops to bring Canada back, setting up Bakovic's game-deciding putback. Canada jumped out to an early 8 point lead and maintained it until a late China 3 brought the game back to 38-35 by halftime. Canada led 60-52 late in the third quarter and then 66-61 with 5:33 left before the Chinese took off on a 10-0 run. But Devoe Joseph had 5 straight points; still Canada had to score the last 6 points of regulation just to tie. Canada hurt themselves with a terrible 13-30 performance at the free throw line but shot 43% from the floor and had 22 offensive rebounds to gut out the win. 6'4" Alwayne Bigby had a solid 11 point/2 rebound effort to help Canada's cause.

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