The Men’s National Team go 4-0 to win the tournament for the first time
(TORONTO, ON) – For the first time, the Men’s National Team have won the Tuto Marchand Continental Cup after beating Puerto Rico 78-72 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
“I thought it was a hard-fought game – very, very scrappy. I thought Puerto Rico played extremely well, won a lot of the battles, the 50-50 balls and caused problems for us with their size and speed,” said Head Coach Jay Triano. “In the end, it was a good win for us, we were able to move the basketball well, we played unselfishly and we really defended when we needed to.”
Andrew Wiggins led Canada in the win with 20 points on 8-18 shooting with five rebounds. Andrew Nicholson provided more scoring with 16 points, including four three-pointers. Melvin Ejim earned a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. J.J. Barea was outstanding for Puerto Rico, dropping 18 points with nine assists and eight rebounds. For full box score, click here.
In front of a Puerto Rican crowd, Canada was slow out of the gate, falling behind 6-4. The Men’s National Team used athleticism to draw six fouls in the period to take control. Andrew Nicholson and Andrew Wiggins combined for 15 as Canada led 19-14 after one quarter of action.
Turnovers and fouls marred the start of the second quarter for Team Canada. Puerto Rico had the home crowd behind them and found their comfort zone on defence to claw back at tie the game at 26. Three triples and a Cory Joseph and-one restored the lead and Canada hit the locker room with a 38-31 lead.
The teams exchanged runs early in the third quarter. Canada turned solid defence into transition scores, but Puerto Rico made threes and crashed the offensive glass. The host nation Puerto Rico earned momentum and tied the game late in the quarter. A late Ejim put-back gave Canada a 59-57 lead at the end of three quarters.
With a passionate crowd behind them, Puerto Rico fought but could not take the lead. Phil Scrubb hit a corner three to make it 72-67 with 4:18 left to deflate the gym and force Puerto Rico to take a timeout. Minutes later, Wiggins blew by a player and dunked over the rotation man to cap the game and tournament result.
“It was a great game. We knew this was going to be a good test for us. It was a team playing on their home-court. [Puerto Rico is] a crafty team, a veteran team that was able to do some stuff and challenge us in some different ways,” said Ejim.
Canada finishes 4-0 at the tournament and brings home the Tuto Marchand Continental Cup. This is the first time Canada has won the tournament.
The team looks ahead to the FIBA Americas Men’s Championship, where two teams will qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympics. Canada’s first game is on September 1 against Argentina. TSN will broadcast all games from the event. Click here for full broadcast schedule and information.
For full Tuto Marchand Continental Cup roster, click here.
For more information on the Tuto Marchand tournament, click here.
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