“Coming into this game we knew it was going to be a dog fight. The whole contest was back and forth. Puerto Rico made some really great plays down the stretch,” said head coach Dave DeAveiro.
The Cadet men’s national team held a lead from the midway point of the first quarter through until the final minutes of the game. A lead as large as 12 slowly disappear as Puerto Rico forced Canada into jump shots by employing a zone defence.
The Cadets took four shots in the paint in the fourth quarter – converting two of them — contrasted against a combined 11 shots from mid-range and behind the three-point line. Canada made two of those 11 attempts.
Canada’s defence was the difference in the first half, holding Puerto Rico to 11- and 14-point quarters. After one half, Canada led 33-25.
An early third-quarter run from the Puerto Ricans would narrow the margin and the game would be neck-and neck from there on out.
The sides would trade buckets in the fourth before Puerto Rico would launch their run in the final minute. Jamal Murray (Kitchener, Ont.) tied the game at 63 with two free throws, but Ivan Gandia made an elbow jumpshot with 0.9 seconds remaining. Canada would have a look from three as time expired, but the attempt was short.
Murray’s 17 points were a game-high. Eddie Ekiyor (Toronto, Ont.) scored 13 points on 6-11 shooting, while pulling down ten rebounds to finish with a double-double.
The loss means Canada finishes sixth at the U17 FIBA World Championships. In the 2012 U17 tournament, Canada finished fifth.
“Can’t say enough of how proud I am of this group and how they represented Canada. From day one each guy gave us everything and we are extremely thankful for this,” said DeAveiro.
Full game statistics can be found here: http://www.fiba.com/world/u17/2014/1608/Canada-Puerto-Rico
The 2014 Cadet men’s national team roster can be found here: http://www.basketball.ca/cadet-men-s15145
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