Brady Heslip netted a game-high 14 points by nailing four three-pointers to lead five different Canadians in double-digit scoring en route to a 86-74 win over the Dominican Republic at the Tuto Marchand Cup in Puerto Rico on Tuesday. With the win, Canada goes undefeated into the final contest against Puerto Rico on Wednesday.
The Dominican Republic proved to be Canada’s toughest challenge so far in Puerto Rico. After a tight first quarter, Canada finally started to break away by riding the hot hand of Heslip who hit three three-pointers during a 14-6 run to close out the half. Canada taking a 48-31 lead into the break and looking to be in complete control.
The two teams traded baskets in the third quarter right up until the final 1 minute and 7 seconds when Dwight Powell, Melvin Ejim and Cory Joseph each turned the ball over in quick succession to hand their opponent a 7-0 run to close out the quarter. The bad play continued for two more minutes into the fourth quarter with turnovers by Aaron Doornekamp and Heslip and then Anthony Bennett bricking a pair of free throws right before the Dominican closed the gap to 62-57 as part of an 11-0 run going back to the third. Basketball Canada reports head coach Jay Triano was searching for a group of guys to respond to the challenge.
“I think both teams got off to a real slow start in the game but we were able to get things going in the second quarter and have a big half time lead,” said head coach Jay Triano. “We let them back in the game. I thought they were more aggressive in their defence and attacking the basket. We found a group of players and our guys responded to the challenge again after letting [a team] back in it.”
It was a group effort that took back the lead for Canada punctuated by a pair of three-pointers by Nik Stauskas as part of an 18-3 run that put Canada up by 20 points with 4 minutes and 21 seconds left in the game. Canada was able to cruise in from there for the victory.
Bennett came up with his second big double-double of the tournament scoring 12 points and taking down 10 boards. Ejim was huge with 12 points of his own plus 9 rebounds. Phil Scrub had 12 points and Andrew Wiggins rounded out the group of double-digit scorers with 11 points.
In what has become a theme for Team Canada at this tournament, they dominated on the glass 52-29.