Canada Downs Puerto Rico 100-83, Earns Berth To 2011 FIBA U19 Worlds
June 27, 2010 - San Antonio, Texas
Canada continued to roll with a 100-83 victory over a scrappy Puerto Rico team Sunday in a preliminary round game of the FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Men at Bill Greehey Arena in San Antonio, Texas.
"We have always had tough games with Puerto Rico whether it's the senior men's, or the junior team, we know each other pretty well, and we play the same style," said Canada head coach Greg Francis. "We really try to get after it. I take my hat off to them. We have some pretty good players, but they [Puerto Rico] played really hard."
The Canadians (2-0) wrap up group play Monday by taking on Brazil at 1 p.m. Central Time. Puerto Rico (0-2) meets Uruguay at 3 p.m. With the win Canada assured itself a place in this tournament's semifinal round and a trip to next summer's FIBA U19 World Championship as the top four finishers in San Antonio get to punch their ticket to the U19 Worlds.
Kyle Wiltjer of Canada led the game with a double-double, scoring 31 points and pulling in 10 rebounds. Wiltjer shot 80 percent (12-15) from the field, and made 5 of 6 in 3-point range, while accounting for three steals.
"Overall all we did well," said Wiltjer. "They made some runs and but we went right back at them and got the win. They're a very scrappy team, very physical. They were in it the whole game, pressing us, so we responded well."
Two other players recorded a double-double, including Myke Kabonga (22 points, 10 rebounds). Kabonga, an effective playmaker, dished out eight assists to his teammates. Khem Birch scored 14 points, and also grabbed 10 boards. Kemy Osse came off the bench to score 20 points, and starter Phil Scrubb added 17.
"We knew it was going to be a hard game," said Kabongo, who has made a verbal commitment to attend the University of Texas in 2011-12. "As a team, everyone contributed and that's why we won today. We're taking it one game at a time, and hopefully, we'll continue to play well."
Puerto Rico was paced by Gary Browne's 19 points, and Matias De Leon had 12. Luis Joel Quinonez rounded out the double-figure scorers, with 10 points. Christopher Ortiz (nine points) was the leading rebounder, with seven. Carmelo Betancourt made seven assists and six points.
Canada, which beat Uruguay 76-52 Saturday, held a 55-45 advantage over Puerto Rico at halftime. In the first half, Canada shot 51 percent (19-37) to 42 percent (19-45) for Puerto Rico. The second half was tighter, as Puerto Rico pulled to within seven points, 66-59, on two free throws by Ortiz Andujar at 2:49 in the third period. The closest Puerto Rico would get after this point was eight points, 74-66, at 9:16 in the fourth.
In the game, Canada hit 49 percent (33-67) and 47 percent (8-17) of 3-pointers. Puerto Rico, which fell 78-53 to Brazil Saturday, shot 38 percent (33-88) against Canada, including 28 percent (5-18) beyond the arc. Canada led 46-34 in rebounding.
"I just think Myck is getting comfortable with these guys, just like they are getting used to him," added Francis when asked about Kabongo's play. "And I know Myck is going to get his points, it's just a matter of time for him, and he gives us a lot of confidence against a tough Puerto Rico team."