Canada Opens Play With 76-52 Win Over Uruguay
June 26, 2010 - San Antonio, Texas
Canada (1-0) scored four seconds into the contest, ran out to a 21-0 lead to open the game and never looked back en route to a 76-52 victory over Uruguay (0-1) to open the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship on Saturday afternoon.
In the next preliminary game, on Sunday, Canada will take on Puerto Rico, and Uruguay meets Brazil. Monday is the final day of pool play. The semifinals are slated for Tuesday, and the finals Wednesday.
The Canadians pulled out to a 21-0 lead at the start of the game, and never looked back. Canada led 21-4 at the end of the 10-minute first quarter, and 34-12 at halftime. In the first half, Canada connected on 14-36 shots, and limited Uruguay to 4-29 shooting.
"There was a point in the third quarter there and they were going make a little run and you knew they were going to make a little run," said Canada head coach Greg Francis. "I thought Kyle Wiltjer really stepped up and took some shots against their zone that sort of deflated them a little bit , they made a little run and tried to get it under twenty.
Wiltjer and Kevin Thomas paced Canada with 14 points each. Wiljter, a 6-9 forward, shot 6-7 from the field and 4-5 beyond the arc. He also pulled in seven rebounds. Thomas, a 6-8 forward, shot 5-9 from the field, and accounted for five rebounds.
"The key to success is to play solid team defense," said Wiltjer. "When we play solid defense, our offense comes naturally."
Two other players scored in double figures, Myke Kabongo and Phil Scrubb, with 10 points apiece. Kabongo led Canada with three assists, and sank 8-10 free throws. Khem Birch, who scored eight points, led the team with nine rebounds.
Uruguay, which did have a 9-0 scoring run in the second half, was paced by Ivan Loriente, who scored a game-high 18 points. Loriente hit 7-18 from the field and grabbed eight rebounds. Matias Guerra added 13 points and six rebounds. Mathias Caltani led the game with 10 rebounds, while scoring three points.
Canada, which led by as much as 30 points in the game, shot 42 percent (25-60) from the field, and 40 percent (8-20) in 3-point range. Uruguay hit 30 percent (21-70) and 19 percent (5-26) respectively. Rebounding was close, as Canada picked up 42, and Uruguay 40. Each team also had 16 turnovers.
"To tell you the truth, there in the second half I don't think we had the poise," added Francis. "I understand the concentration is tough and we have to demand that these guys, even if they get a lead, still have to play better. That was the hard thing. I don't think we did a good job in the second half of keeping that intensity and playing our game for forty minutes. We let them go on the back foot a little bit, that was tough."