Saturday, 29 August 2009

Canada Basketball Media Release after win over U.S. Virgin Islands


(San Juan, P.R.) Canada’s Senior Men’s National Team (SMNT) outscored the US Virgin Islands 87-67 tonight to give the Canadians a 2-0 record in the FIBA Americas Championship. After a 10-point lead in the first quarter, the Canadians controlled the match, with all 11 players on the floor scoring for the squad.

“Much like the game against Mexico we had to come out aggressive very early on,” said Leo Rautins, Head Coach for the SMNT. “The US Virgin Islands played a late game the night before and it was important to get on them right away and pretty much dictate how the game was going to be played.

Team Captain Jesse Young was Canada’s top scorer with 14 points and seven rebounds off the bench. Olu Famutimi had 12 and Andy Rautins netted 11 on the game. Levon Kendall was the team –high rebounder for the second time in as many nights with eight boards.

“Tonight was a typical Jesse performance," added Rautins. "He goes out, rebounds, makes plays, and scores. Whatever we need done out there he gets it done.”

Once again Canada overpowered its opponent on defence (38-31), steals (14-6) and turnovers (12-21). Offensively, the red and white shot 42 per cent from the field compared to 35 per cent for the US Virgin Islands and the Canadians were nearly perfect from the charity stripe going 26 of 28. The SMNT played a very efficient game, rotating the players and limiting individuals no more than 23 minutes on the floor.

Canada came out fast in the first quarter and gained a sizeable lead with seven points from Jesse Young and 5 from Olu Famutimi. Joel Anthony, who collected two quick fouls in the first, was forced to sit out the rest of the first half. The quarter closed 24-14.

In the second period, both teams struggled to get on the board. Andy Rautins hit back-to-back buckets to give Canada 31-16 lead midway through the period. But the US Virgin Islands, did not let up and went on a 8-3 run until Anderson hit a big three and got the and one to make it 37-24 with two minutes left in the half. English hit a three with final seconds to make it 44-26 at the half.

“Those plays are key,” Rautins commented on Anderson. “Jermaine is a solid player and he’s the guy who really tries to make things happen for us. In crunch time I don’t think he’s missed a big shot for us down the stretch.”

Joel Anthony opened the second half with four points including two free throws giving Canada a 48-27 lead in the first minute of play. The US Virgin Islands made a push to get back in the game and actually outscored the red and white in the third 22-20. But the Canadians already had a comfortable margin of 64-48 going into the fourth quarter.

US Virgin Islands fought till the end, collecting another 19 points in the final period. But it was too little too late as Canada tallied 23 points to claim the win.

US Virgin Islands’ Walter Hodge scored a game-high 18 points, while Kitwana Rhymer had a game-high 11 rebounds.

Canada (2-0) will play Uruguay (1-1) on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. ET, with the broadcast live on The Score and The Score HD. Raptors NBA TV will replay the game at 7:00 p.m. ET.

“We have to come out strong,” said Young on the upcoming game against Uruguay. They play a late game tonight against Puerto Rico so we can come out tomorrow and jump on them quick and keep the pressure on them.”

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