7’2″ senior center Isaac Haas dominated inside at both ends with 20 points and 11 rebounds while touted 6’0″ sophomore Carsten Edwards added 14 and the Boilermakers made 11 of their final 12 free throws down the stretch, pulling away after Canada got it to 1 with about 3 minutes left for a 94-86 victory at Carmel H.S. in Indiana as Coach Kevin Hanson‘s team began their FISU Games campaign with a very competitive exhibition game.
Canada, playing with just 10 players as 6’4″ Connor Wood (turned ankle in practice/out until FISU tournament) and 6’5″ Alexandre Leclerc (back spasms) were unavailable, were led by their two best players on the evening UBC’s 6’9″ Conor Morgan (21 points on 9-17 including 3-6 3’s, 12 rebounds and 3 assists) and 6’2″ Kaza Kajami-Keane of Carleton (21 points/16 in the second half on 7-26/4-14 3’s, 4 rebounds, 6 assists). Morgan’s acrobatic, hanging finish inside off a put-back over Haas got Canada back to within 1 at 78-77 with just over 3 minutes to play but Haas nailed a pair of free throws and later threw down a vicious two-handed dunk off a ball screen slip and USA/Purdue was never behind again.
Canada twice came back from double digit leads as Team USA/Purdue came out on fire in the second half. As well, Team USA/Purdue took an early 10 point lead off the start of the game but Canada came back against Purdue’s second team to grab a one-point halftime lead as Morgan had 14 first-half points.
Canada turned it over 19 times and committed 26 fouls (against 21 for opponents), missing several open looks in the second half that might have turned the tide (9-25 3’s) but was in the game virtually the entire way against a team that won 27 games last season and advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16.
Hansen went with Morgan, Kajami-Keane, 6’6″ Kevin Bercy from St. FX (solid 11 points/6 rebounds), 6’6″ Jordan Jensen-Whyte (UBC) and 6’3″ Manitoba wing Justus Alleyn on the floor down the stretch and the group competed very well with Alleyn authoring an important steal and lay-in to get it back to 2 with 2:11 left but Purdue was money from the line to clinch what was an entertaining affair.
The two teams meet again tomorrow afternoon at 4 PM ET.