BAHIA BLANCA, ARGENTINA (August 29, 2017) – The Senior Men’s National Team defeated Venezuela 75-66 on Tuesday evening in their final Group Phase game of the FIBA AmeriCup 2017.
Canada finishes the tournament with a 1-2 record and will not advance to the semifinals.
Xavier Rathan-Mayes led Canada with 22 points and eight rebounds while Andrew Nicholson added an additional 12 points in the victory. Dyshawn Pierre controlled the boards for Canada and finished the contest with a team-high 11 rebounds.
Despite eight points from Rathan-Mayes in the opening frame, Canada found themselves trailing Venezuela 23-18 at the end of the first quarter. A back-and-forth second saw Canada reclaim the lead with 2:49 to play in the half and enter the break up 29-27.
The see-saw battle continued in the third as the lead changed hands several times before the quarter came to a close tied 48-48. Seeking revenge against the defending champions, an inspired Canadian contingent closed the game with a 27-18 advantage in the final quarter to seal the win and eliminate Venezuela from medal contention.
The victory was Canada’s second in the past three contests against Venezuela, while the two teams have split their previous six games dating back to an 80-73 win for Canada at the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship in Las Vegas. via basketball.ca
“A pretty talented group of teams here and there were no easy games. This is a very experienced and tough Venezuela team, so it was nice for us to get a chance to grow every game. I take tremendous pride in our growth and result from today.” – Roy Rana, Head Coach
“Watching our young players get better everyday and watching a group that really began to understand how much we have to fight in every game to win. These games are about passion as much as they are about tactics and strategy. I think we got better and better and it’s been nothing but a positive experience here.” – Roy Rana, Head Coach
“With the new format, it’s going to take a lot of players. It’s going to take our NBA players like Andrew and it’s going to take some of our young players that have made their first appearances for our country. I think that’s the beauty of what we saw these past three days here is that we are really starting to show our depth as far as our players are concerned, as we have young players here. Hopefully that’s going to pay dividends going into November and February.” – Roy Rana, Head Coach
“We all got better collectively as a team from the start of training camp to the last game today. Great group of guys, always on the same page and fighting for the same goals. Great leadership from Coach Rana and the coaching staff. I think we did a good job this week showing how we played with pride and a lot of energy.” -Andrew Nicholson
Canada’s pursuit of a FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 berth begins with the Americas Qualifiers where 16 teams will compete for seven World Cup spots.
Canada will face Bahamas, Dominican Republic and the United States Virgin Islands in Group D. Each team will compete against the other three teams on a home and away basis with Canada hosting the first game against Bahamas in Halifax, NS on November 24, 2017.