So the bubble burst for the Junior Men's National Team last night against Brazil as they took their first loss of the FIBA Americas U18 Championship losing 66-62.
I expected that this would be a tough game for the young Canadians, who have been steamrolling over teams in pool play up to last night. But if you look at the boxscore the game was played pretty tightly. Both teams were pretty even down the lines and it was nothing more than a really tough loss.
Too bad that Canada's first loss had to come in this game.
Now Canada will have to play against Argentina in the Bronze medal game later on today and you can bet that Argentina will not have forgotten the loss to the Red and White yet.
Canada beat them to end pool play by the narrow margin of 75-68 and both teams played pretty evenly according to the boxscore. What Canada did do against Argentina earlier that they didn't do against Brazil last night was keep their turnovers low. The JMNT had 20 TOs in the blow out wins over Columbia and Puerto Rico but managing to keep them down to 6 against Argentina was a huge difference maker, especially against a team as good as them. By comparison, against Brazil the JMNT had 14 which was three more than their opponents. And if the game becomes a matter of managing the ball late, those are very important possessions that are lost.
For the Junior Men, this is their last game at the tournament and though it may be a disappointing turn of events it's still a game that they have to win. Qualifying for the U19 World Championships is already in hand so this game becomes a matter of pride. They, like us I'm sure, had hopes of challenging for the Gold but they will need to get their minds straight and focus on winning this game and not playing in a game they should have been. Now there will be no time to make up errors against Argentina because of their talent so every possession will need to be played like their last.
If they can control the ball, everything will take care of itself and hopefully Canada will have put up more points on the board to bring home the bronze.
Canada will play Argentina tonight at 5:00pm EDT (I think if the schedules haven't changed time slots).