Canada shakes off sluggish start to dominate Dominican

Unleashing full-court pressure that created numerous turnovers and turning it up on the defensive end, Canada used a 22-0 run bridging the third and fourth quarters to hammer Dominican Republic 79-52 to advance to Thursday’s quarter-finals at the FIBA U-17 World championships in Spain.  Canada started sluggishly, missing their first 12 3’s of the game and shot under 25% in the first half which resulted in an early 19-12 Dominican lead.  But Canada finished the first half on a 17-5 run and then used defensive pressure that led to easy scores to extend to a comfortable lead.  The big run included 3 different Canadians taking charges on out-of-control drives by the Dominicans to the rim.  With Canada leading 35-32 early in the third, the Canadians began to dominate on the glass and then 6’5″ R.J. Barrett ignited the action with a breakaway slam that gave Canada an 11 point lead, part of the 11-0 run to end the third.  Canada continued with the full court pressure to start the fourth and scored the first 11 points of the frame to lead 68-39 and Coach Dave DeAveiro then emptied the bench with about 7 minutes remaining.  Once again 6’7″ Emmanuel Akot (11 points) continues to impress with his athleticism that allows him to dominate most opponents defensively and his wonderful open court skills.  Akot, along with 6’4″ Noah Kirkwood, 6’3″ Andrew Nembhard, 6’1″ Stefan Smith and 6’7″ Danilo Djuricic were the catalysts for much of the game-deciding 22-0 run that sealed the win.  6’7″ Ignas Brazdeikis led Canada with 15 points and 10 rebounds while Barrett added 14 and 6’9″ Simi Shittu had 13 points/11 rebounds including 7 on the offensive glass as Canada had 22 “o” boards and outrebounded DR 63-50.  Canada now faces Turkey on Thursday in the quarter-final (Turkey was leading Mali by over 20 late in the 4th quarter of their game).  Canada will have to improve their perimeter shooting (just 3-22 from 3 point land and 18-40 from the free throw line).


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