For the second time in four games, Andrew Wiggins led Team Canada to victory at the Tuto Marchand Continental Cup. Canada taking a hotly contested game 78-72 from their previously undefeated hosts Puerto Rico. The Canadians wrapped up this warm-up tournament at 4-0.
Wiggins opened the scoring with a free throw and scored 7 of his 20 points in the initial quarter as Canada got out to the early 19-14 first quarter lead. In perhaps his best game of the tournament, Wiggins finished shooting 8-18 with 2 three-pointers, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal and 2 blocked shots.
Canada played exceptional defense over the first half, holding their hosts to just 31 points and taking a 7 point advantage into the break. The lead ballooned to 12 points early in the third quarter on a Nicholson three-pointer, but Canada nearly gave it all away as Puerto turned up the physical play to go on a 13-4 run over 2.3 minutes and eventually tie the game at 57 just before the quarter ended. Head coach Jay Triano told Basketball Canada it was a hard fought game.
“I thought it was a hard-fought game – very, very scrappy. I thought Puerto Rico played extremely well, won a lot of the battles, the 50-50 balls and caused problems for us with their size and speed,” said Head Coach Jay Triano. “In the end, it was a good win for us, we were able to move the basketball well, we played unselfishly and we really defended when we needed to.”
In a wild fourth quarter Canada managed a couple of short runs to regain the lead and no one could score in the final minute as Canada held Puerto Rico to just one shot by grabbing three offensive boards, two by point guard Cory Joseph.
Andrew Nicholson broke out in this game, shooting 6-7 from the field with 4 three-pointers to tally 16 points. Melvin Ejim put up the double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds including 6 offensive boards. Joseph filled the stats sheet with 9 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and a blocked shot.
The real action gets underway on September 1st when Canada takes on Argentina in their first game of the preliminary round at the 2015 FIBA Americas tournament in Mexico. Their reward for looking this good at the Pan Am games and the Tuto Marchand Continental Cup is TSN will be showing their games (and the entire tournament). Basketball Canada has the complete TV broadcast schedule.
- Canada vs Argentina – Tuesday, Sept. 1 at 3 p.m. ET on TSN4 and TSN5
- Cuba vs Canada – Wednesday, Sept. 2 at 3 p.m. ET on TSN4 and TSN5
- Canada vs Venezuela – Thursday, Sept. 3 at 6:55 p.m. ET on TSN4
- Puerto Rico vs Canada – Friday, Sept. 4 at 6:55 p.m. ET on TSN4 and TSN5
The top two finishers at this tournament will secure a spot at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.