Friday, 28 August 2009

Canada Basketball Media Release on Mexico Game


(San Juan, P.R.) Canada’s Senior Men’s Basketball Team (SMNT) tipped off the FIBA Americas Championship today with a lopsided win over Mexico 95-40. Named the “Road Warriors”, the Canadians played a tough game on both ends of the court, led by Andy Rautins (Syracuse, NY) who tallied a game-high 18 points including six from the three-point range.

Canada had its way offensively, especially from the perimeter, making 19 threes and shooting 57.6 per cent to Mexico’s 13.6 per cent. But it was the defense where the Warriors really showed their strength, holding Mexico to a mere 40 points while, out-rebounding the team 47-30.

A total of five Canadians finished in double digits including Rautins, who was sic for nine from the three-point line. Carl English (Patrick’s Cove, NF) was five for seven from the perimeter, collecting 17 points. Joel Anthony (Montreal, QC), a 6’9” centre with NBA’s Miami Heat, and Jermaine Bucknor (Edmonton, Alta.) both contributed 11points and five boards. Olu Famutimi (Toronto, ON) finished with 10 points, while scoring a six assists. Vancouver native, Levon Kendall led all rebounders with 11 boards in the game.

Noe Alonzo was the only player in double digits for Mexico with 10 points.

Game Recap:

The first quarter opened with Mexico getting on the board first with deuce by G. Ayon Aguirre. It was the only time in the game the Mexicans had the lead as 6’7” forward, Bucknor hit a three and there was no looking back. Pushing the ball, the red and white went on a 14-9 run mid way through the first period. A dunk by team captain and 10-year veteran, Jesse Young (Peterborough, ON) made it 18-12 with 2:40 left in the first period. Mexico struggled offensively and with one minute left Canada had doubled its opponent’s score 24-12. Back-up point guard, Tyler Kepkay (Vancouver, BC) hit an unbelievable shot at the buzzer from deep on the other side of the court to give the Canadians a substantial lead 30-13 after one.

In the second, Mexico went on the aggressive as K. Malpica scored two buckets, narrowing Canada’s lead to 13 points. But free throw by Young spurned a 13-0 run that included a big three by Kendall, and back to back three’s by Rautins. 6’10 forward, Young went inside for a dunk to give him seven points in the game, while extending Canada’s lead 43-17. The red and white closed out the half 49-21 with a pair of back-to-back threes by Bucknor and English.

Canada continued its offensive push in the third to make it 58-21, with shots from Jermaine Anderson (Toronto, ON), Anthony and English. Mexico’s Alonzo tried to jump start his team with a three but Anthony answered back on the next possession to make it 60-24 with just over six minutes left. Canada expanded its lead 67-27 after a mid-range jumper by Anthony followed by a dunk. Alonzo knocked down another three-pointer with just under three minutes remaining. Canada’s English went on a shooting show, scoring seven points in two minutes as Canada closed the third with a 45-point lead (78-33).

Mexico’s offensive woes continued in the fourth as Canada’s Rautins sank yet another three-pointer; giving him 15 in the game while increasing the Road Warriors lead 81-33 with just over six minutes left in the game. Kepkay hit a three from beyond the arc and followed with an assist to Kendall for a dunk to give Canada an 86-33 lead at the 5:30 mark. Mexico made a final push scoring seven points, mostly off free throws, but Rautins sealed the game with a signature three to give Canada the win 95-40.

Canada (1-0) will next face the US Virgin Islands (0-1) on Friday, August 28. Watch the game live on The Score at 4:00 p.m. ET or on replay at 10:00 p.m. ET. Raptors NBA TV will also re-broadcast the match at 7:00 p.m. ET.

For complete box scores, schedule and standings of the FIBA Americas Championship, visit the official tournament website at

Team Canada Post-Game Quotations:

Leo Rautins – Head Coach:

“One of the things we said going into this game was that Mexico played Puerto Rico in the late game last night. We’re and energy team and we have to play a high energy game in any situation, but especially in an environment like this. It’s critical to come out and take advantage of whatever scheduling quirks there are and I thought our guys did a great job of coming out ready to play.”

“The defense was tremendous and they also did an excellent job moving the ball offensively getting a lot of good shots. In fairness Mexico was a little worn down, but I think our guys did what they had to do in today’s game.”

Leo Rautins on upcoming game vs. US Virgin Islands:

“It will be a similar scenario to today’s game. US Virgin Islands plays Puerto Rico tonight tip off at 9:00 p.m. so going to be a late night for them. We’ll have to bring the same energy as we did today.”

“The US Virgin Islands is extremely athletic. They have size, quickness and they’re very strong and physical, so it’s important that we get on them early, much like we did against Mexico and let them feel us. We cannot let them get any open looks and play we have to play with the same aggression, intensity and execution.”

“We had a game plan going into Mexico with their best player Beck. We were resolute in not allowing him to get in the game. I believe he only had three points today after having 26-28 against Puerto Rico last night. We want to have that same effectiveness in executing our game plan against the US Virgin Islands tomorrow.”

Leo Rautins on the quality of play at FIBA Americas:

There are very good teams here that have been playing together for an awful long time. The teams have NBA stars on their teams, Euroleague stars on these teams, and the experience that they have makes it really challenging. There are no easy games, doesn’t matter what bracket you’re in or what they did the game before. The officiating is different in FIBA compared to what North American players experience so when you factor it all in it’s very, very competitive. These teams have been playing together for so long we kind of babies on the scene with this group. But even our group has been together now 3-4 years and we see all the same faces. These other teams have been together well before us and much longer than us so it’s a challenge every time we play.

Quotes from Andy Rautins (guard):

“Our main goal is to keep Mexico off the glass in rebounds, because that’s how we won against them last time by out-rebounding them by 30 back then. Another one of our main goals was to keep Beck from getting good looks. On defense Aaron did a good job on the ball, along with Olu and Carl, and I think our defense put us in a position where our offense could drive.”

Andy Rautins on upcoming game vs. US Virgin Islands:

“The next game is big for our team. We have a game and it’s our first one but we can’t have a letdown the next day. Even though we had a win tonight, it’s only our first one and we can’t be satisfied. We have a long way to go in this tournament.”

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