Canada 74, Australia 70… 6’7″ Ben Krikke‘s clutch put-back tip-in with just 30 seconds remaining and at the tail end of a Canadian possession was the key bucket as our U17’s outlasted a scrappy Australian side to advance to tomorrow’s FIBA U17 World Cup semi-final against the winner of tonight’s USA vs. Croatia quarter-final match in Argentina. The “o” board was only the third of the entire game for Canada, which gave up 16 “o” boards to their opponents.
Here is a quick highlight package from today’s game
The game was close throughout with Canada holding leads as many as 5 and 7 at various points but unable to break away until 6’6″ Addison Patterson capped a 13-5 run to give Canada an 8 point lead with just 1:48 to play with a three-pointer, capping a string of 7 consecutive points by the emerging star and Canada looked to be set. But a turnover and missed shot got Australia back to within two with just less than a minute to play and Canada worked the shot clock down, getting off a shot that was rebounded by Krikke (6 points, 3 rebounds), who was limited to just 17 minutes today amid foul trouble (2 first-half fouls), who made no mistake to stretch the lead back to 4 rescuing Canada. Canada then clinched the game on the foul line.
Canada led by 5 going into the fourth but was held scoreless for the first 3 minutes of the final frame, allowing Australia to creep back into it but 6’3″ Cashius McNeilly (11 points/3-7 threes; part of a tough 5-20 effort by Canada from downtown) knocked in a three and followed up with a lay-up and Canada’s lead was restored. Later the game was tied at 55 with 5 minutes remaining before a steal by 6’0″ Keeshawn Barthelemy (10 points, 5 assists) set up 6’7″ Josh Hemmings (8 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists) for a lay-up, starting what turned out to be the game-deciding run, highlighted by Patterson (team-high 18 points) that gave Canada a 68-60 lead with under two minutes to play.
The game marked Canada first real test of the tournament and getting through this will be an added advantage for what promises to be another tough test in the championship semi-finals tomorrow. Canada turned it over 19 times today and forced only 16 turnovers, well below the rate at which Canada turned over other opponents in the first four games.