Leading 83-76 with less than 2 minutes to play, Canada allowed Team USA/Purdue to finish the fourth quarter on a 7-0 run and then the Americans pulled away in the extra frame to win going away 103-91 in OT to sweep the two pre-FISU Games exhibition games in a game played at Lafayette Jefferson High School in Lafayette, IN.
7’2″ senior center Isaac Haas, who battled foul trouble all afternoon, tied the game for Team USA/Purdue with 25 seconds remaining on an “and 1″, making the clutch free throw to tie it. Haas was a load inside in both games as Canada never really found an answer for him; the burly senior finished with 17 points and 9 rebounds today. Canada’s ability to guard Haas inside diminished more early in the game when 6’9” Jean Pierre-Charles left the game with a left knee injury and did not return.
But Canada’s woes began late in the game with questionable shot selection early in some possessions and an inability to break down defenders off the dribble as Team USA guards did a wonderful job not allowing penetration. Canada did have the ball for the final possession of regulation but a scrambling play which almost created a turnover ended up with 6’6″ Jordan Jensen-Whyte getting a decent look at a 15 footer that was front-rimmed.
Team USA dominated the extra session, leaving Canada bitterly disappointed with the knowledge that they let a very winnable game slip away in the final 2 minutes.
Pierre-Charles had scored the first 10 points for Canada after a listless start by his teammates. Team USA left the forward/center from uOttawa open on the perimeter and paid for it early but an injury shelved Pierre-Charles for the afternoon after just 5 minutes.
Canada was once again led by the tandem of 6’2″ Kaza Kajami-Keane (16 points on 6-13 shooting in regulation, 3 assists) and 6’9″ Conor Morgan (17 points, 7 rebounds), plus another steady, if-not-underrated effort from 6’7″ Kevin Bercy (10 points on 5-6 shooting). Lefty post 6’10” Erik Nissen was a load inside for Canada also with a solid 15-point, 7-rebound performance including 4 on the “o” boards, part of 12 offensive rebounds that helped put Canada in a position to win.
Canada again played without 6’4″ Connor Wood, out until the tournament begins with an ankle injury but did see the return of 6’5″ Alexandre Leclerc who missed last night’s game with back spasms but played 25 minutes today and was effective grabbing loose balls, defending and made a nice baseline jumper beating a close-out to get open from 15 feet along the left baseline.
Canada leaves for Taipei shortly and are scheduled to arrive in Taiwan on Monday the 14th. Hanson’s troops will practice that day and the 15th and 16th with tentative exhibition games scheduled against Australia (Thursday, August 17th) and the Czech Republic (Friday, August 18th) just as those teams arrive in Taiwan.
Canada opens up their FISU men’s basketball tournament schedule on Sunday, August 20th vs. Norway and plays five games in six days before the championship quarter-finals.
Canada’s 2017 FISU Games Schedule
Sunday, August 20th vs. Norway
Monday, August 21st vs. Finland
Tuesday, August 22nd vs. Hong Kong
Thursday, August 24th vs. Japan
Friday, August 25th vs. Germany.
Top two teams in each of the 4 pools advance to the sudden death quarter-finals.