Canada splits series with Australia in Perth, International Basketball Series Continues Tuesday

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PERTH, AUSTRALIA (August 17, 2019) – The Canadian Senior Men’s Basketball team dropped an 81-73 decision to Australia on Saturday in Perth. This was the second game in as many days between the two teams, with Canada winning 90-70 in Friday’s contest.

Click here for the box score.

Khem Birch led the Canadians with a game-high 18 points in the loss, while Oshae Brissett added 14 points and Kaza Kajami-Keane added 11 points. Jock Landale led Australia with 13 points as Jonah Bolden scored 12 and Chris Goulding added 10.

“I thought it was very positive for us, these two games,” associate head coach Gordie Herbert said. “I thought we played extremely well. We competed. We played as a team. [Friday] night, obviously we shot the ball better from three-point land, but overall I thought it was a very positive two days for us.”

Canada was without Kevin Pangos who led the team with a game-high 18 points in Friday’s victory. Australia was without Patty Mills and Andrew Bogut in Saturday’s win. Despite the loss, the Canadian team felt there were many positives to take from the first two exhibition games played in Australia.

“I think we showed a lot of character in these last couple of games,” Melvin Ejim said. “We played really tough. This is a great Australia team, they have a lot of great players that are going to do very well, but I thought we showed promise, we showed we have the ability to compete no matter who we put on the floor.”

Though Canada led by one after the opening quarter, by eight in the second quarter, and by three at the half, they were unable to slow Australia offensively in the third. Up 33-30 at the halftime break, Canada shot 39 percent over the first two quarters, while Australia made just 27 percent of its shots. When Canada was connecting from deep, Australia struggled to hit the mark.

Things flipped for both teams in the third. Australia scored the first points of the quarter with Chris Goudling’s first three-pointer of the night tying the game at 33 points. Though Canada would respond with a 12-2 run to go ahead by 10 on a jumper from Birch with 5:42 remaining in the third, Australia found its touch from outside, drilling a trio of three-pointers in less than a minute to get within three. 

“We’ve only been together 10 days, this was our fourth game and I thought we really improved every game defensively,” Herbert said. “I just thought we had a little bit of a dry spell tonight, when our defence in transition, we didn’t match up … and they hit a couple of threes. Otherwise, I thought our defence was really good, really solid.”

After scoring 30 points in the first half, Australia outscored Canada 30-26 in the third where they also connected on 6-of-8 three-pointers. A pair of free throws from Joe Ingles gave Australia a 60-59 advantage after three. 

Canada struggled to score in the final quarter, shooting just 2-of-10 from the floor midway through. Though the team would use a 6-0 run to get within three at the 3:30 mark, Australia responded with a 9-0 run to go ahead by 12, the largest lead of the game, with 1:31 remaining.  Australia outscored Canada 21-14 in the fourth quarter.

Up next for Team Canada is a two-day break from games before beginning a two-game series against New Zealand on Tues. August 20 and Wed. August 21. Both games are available on CBC Sports platforms and the free CBC Gem streaming service.

Courtesy Canada Basketball