CANADA’S SMNT STRUGGLE TO GAIN OFFENSIVE TRACTION & FALL FOR 2ND STRAIGHT GAME TO CROATIA, 74-59

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(Toronto, Ont.) – The Senior Men’s National Team continued their European tour of friendly competition today in a rematch of yesterday’s game against Croatia. The result was eerily similar, as the Canadians once again fell to Croatia, this time by a score of 74-59.

Andrew Nicholson (Mississauga, Ont.) led the Canadians with 16 points on 6-10 shooting in 21 minutes of floor time. Owen Klassen (Kingston, Ont.) brought his usual high energy and chipped in off-the-bench with 10 points (7-8 FTS), four rebounds, three assists, and one block.

The Croatians were led in scoring and rebounding by key reserve, Miro Bilan, who dropped in 26 points (12-18 FG) and grabbed seven boards.

From the opening tip, Canada struggled to find any traction offensively. The defensive effort was stellar, as the Canadians turned the Croatians over 15 times; however they were unable to capitalize off the resulting possessions. It was clear early on that there was a lid on Canada’s basket, and for the second straight game they struggled to knock down shots, shooting an embarrassing 31% (21-68) from the floor; Couple that with the dominant bench of Croatia, which outscored Canada’s 59-31, and it was clear that Canada was in for a long afternoon.

After the first quarter Canada was still very much in the game, trailing Croatia 15-12. By halftime however, that lead had grown to 16 points as Croatia led 38-22. The Canucks came out of halftime with a reinvigorated spirit and were able to trim the Croatian lead down to nine by the end of the third quarter. In the end, however, it was too little too late, as the Croatians continued their consistent shooting (48% – 27-56 FG), dashing any hope of a Canadian comeback.

Never one for making excuses, Canadian Head Coach Jay Triano expressed his characteristic no-nonsense point-of-view post-game:

“Plain and simple, we did not shoot the ball well. With that said, I thought we grew throughout the game and we competed better in the second half.”

Triano continued to find the bright side in the loss:

“Although it wasn’t a pretty game, this is exactly the experience we are looking for on this trip.”

Canada will look to bounce back tomorrow, when they travel to Trieste, Italy to take on a strong Italian squad. Tip-off is set for 2:30 pm EST. Stay connected on Facebook & Twitter for quarter-by-quarter updates.

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Courtesy Canada Basketball

Drew Ebanks

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