Canada goes 2-0 at FIBA Americas with big win over US Virgin Islands



    SAN JUAN, PR, Aug. 28 /CNW/ - Canada's Senior Men's National Team (SMNT)
outscored the US Virgin Islands 87-67 tonight to give the Canadians a 2-0
record in the FIBA Americas Championship. After a 10-point lead in the first
quarter, the Canadians controlled the match, with all 11 players on the floor
scoring for the squad.
    "Much like the game against Mexico we had to come out aggressive very
early on," said Leo Rautins, Head Coach for the SMNT. "The US Virgin Islands
played a late game the night before and it was important to get on them right
away and pretty much dictate how the game was going to be played.
    Team Captain Jesse Young was Canada's top scorer with 14 points and seven
rebounds off the bench. Olu Famutimi had 12 and Andy Rautins netted 11 on the
game. Levon Kendall was the team -high rebounder for the second time in as
many nights with eight boards.
    "Tonight was a typical Jesse performance," added Rautins. "He goes out,
rebounds, makes plays, and scores. Whatever we need done out there he gets it
done."
    Once again Canada overpowered its opponent on defence (38-31), steals
(14-6) and turnovers (12-21). Offensively, the red and white shot 42 per cent
from the field compared to 35 per cent for the US Virgin Islands and the
Canadians were nearly perfect from the charity stripe going 26 of 28. The SMNT
played a very efficient game, rotating the players and limiting individuals no
more than 23 minutes on the floor.
    Canada came out fast in the first quarter and gained a sizeable lead with
seven points from Jesse Young and 5 from Olu Famutimi. Joel Anthony, who
collected two quick fouls in the first, was forced to sit out the rest of the
first half. The quarter closed 24-14.
    In the second period, both teams struggled to get on the board. Andy
Rautins hit back-to-back buckets to give Canada 31-16 lead midway through the
period. But the US Virgin Islands, did not let up and went on a 8-3 run until
Anderson hit a big three and got the and one to make it 37-24 with two minutes
left in the half. English hit a three with final seconds to make it 44-26 at
the half.
    "Those plays are key," Rautins commented on Anderson. "Jermaine is a
solid player and he's the guy who really tries to make things happen for us.
In crunch time I don't think he's missed a big shot for us down the stretch."
    Joel Anthony opened the second half with four points including two free
throws giving Canada a 48-27 lead in the first minute of play. The US Virgin
Islands made a push to get back in the game and actually outscored the red and
white in the third 22-20. But the Canadians already had a comfortable margin
of 64-48 going into the fourth quarter.
    US Virgin Islands fought till the end, collecting another 19 points in
the final period. But it was too little too late as Canada tallied 23 points
to claim the win.
    US Virgin Islands' Walter Hodge scored a game-high 18 points, while
Kitwana Rhymer had a game-high 11 rebounds.
    Canada (2-0) will play Uruguay (1-1) on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. ET, with
the broadcast live on The Score and The Score HD. Raptors NBA TV will replay
the game at 7:00 p.m. ET.
    "We have to come out strong," said Young on the upcoming game against
Uruguay. They play a late game tonight against Puerto Rico so we can come out
tomorrow and jump on them quick and keep the pressure on them."

    
    Team Canada Post-Game Quotations:
    ---------------------------------
    

    Leo Rautins - Head Coach:

    Much like Mexico, we had to come out aggressive very early on. The Virgin
Islands played a late game the night before and it was important to get on
them right away and pretty much dictate how the game was going to be played.
    We were able to get good opportunities as well and for the second game in
a row we were able to watch our minutes. Nobody's playing more than 22 minutes
a game so we're maintaining fresh legs.

    Rautins on top scorer Jesse Young:

    Jesse is a warrior. There are a lot of things that have to happen for a
team to be successful and you must have players who will sacrifice. Tonight
was a typical Jesse performance. He goes out, rebounds, makes plays, scores.
Whatever we need done out there, he gets it done.

    Rautins on defensive play in second half:

    The Virgin Islands is a very athletic team and you've got to give them
credit. They didn't go away but kept trying to get back into it.
    You're not holding teams to 40 points per game on a regular basis. If you
hold a team to under 70, which is what we did today, by international
standards, that's very good defense. And that's something we've been working
on all summer long.

    Rautins on Jermaine Anderson's clutch three and one:

    Those plays are key. Jermaine is a solid player and he has to run the
team but he's the guy who really tries to make things happen for us.

    Rautins on upcoming game vs. Uruguay:

    The games get tougher each day. Uruguay is physical, they're aggressive,
they're experienced, but similar to the first two games, they're playing the
late game tonight against Puerto Rico. It's very important for us to really
jump on them right off the top figuring that fatigue could come into play.
They are not a very deep team, but they're experienced and it's important for
us to take advantage of our depth and freshness in tomorrow's game.

    Jesse Young (Captain - Team Canada) on the win vs. Uruguay:

    I think it's great, especially when you blow someone out by 55 it almost
sometimes hurts you. But for us to come today and have the same determination
right from the get go and get a big lead in the first half it's just great to
see.

    Young on playing on the second rotation:

    I think is great. I totally understand when Leo pulled me over and told
me where he was coming from. For me, I've been coming off the bench for a long
time in my professional career so it's not really a change. It helps,
especially with Jermaine Bucknor on the first team because he's able to step
out and shoot the three against small forwards.

    Young on the upcoming game:

    We have to come out strong. They play a late game tonight against Puerto
Rico and that's a tough game for them. They're not that deep so we can come
out tomorrow, jump on them quick and keep the pressure on them.

    
    Click here to download:
    -----------------------

    (*) The 2009 Senior Men's National Team Media Guide
    (http://basketball.ca/en/hm/download.php?id=214)
    

    Canada Basketball (www.basketball.ca) is a private, not-for-profit
corporation that is committed to the growth of the sport in Canada. Just as
important, Canada Basketball is focused on the development and preparation of
Canada's national teams for the Olympic; Pan American and FISU Games as well
as the World Championships. The aspiration of Canada Basketball is to instill
the pride, commitment, passion and respect that Canadians personify into the
development of basketball across the country and internationally.




For further information:

For further information: Andrew Cook, Manager, Men's Elite Performance,
Canada Basketball, Tel: (416) 614-8037 x 210, e-mail: acook@basketball.ca,
Website: www.basketball.ca; Tanya Phillipps, Manager, Marketing &
Communications, Canada Basketball, Tel: (416) 614-8037 x 219, e-mail:
tphillipps@basketball.ca, Website: www.basketball.ca

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