Despite a 20 point, 8 rebound effort by Jesse Young Canada falls just short completing the comeback against Uruguay
Now this game against Uruguay was an exciting game! Unfortunately again I was not able to watch the game but I was glued to my computer screen, hanging on every single play-by-play update from the FIBA website. The game had everything you want in a good ball game: lead changes, scoring runs, foul line pressure. Yep, I couldn’t have asked for a better game feed than Canada winning of course. Despite a great game by vet Jesse Young, the Road Warriors were on the losing end of the hard fought game. Here is the Can Ball Report’s third installment of the Blinders Game Report.
The end of the game feed, like to most of you National Team faithful, was a dramatic letdown but it was still a good loss in my books. The Road Warriors were down early on but still fought back to the bitter end. Now to be honest, this team hasn’t (at least from what I’ve surmised) really been tested in this Qualifier yet. The two blow out wins the last two days may have given the team a false sense of security which may have set up yesterday’s loss. I think this game was definitely a wakeup call to the caliber of teams in this tournament with probably their toughest opponent coming today in Puerto Rico.
So what were the glaring aspects that could have kept Canada from being 3-0?
Running up and down the stat lines you see very little disparity in all but one of the categories: team fouls. Canada had 26 fouls to Uruguay’s 19. Now if you were me and you were reading the live stat feed, or were watching the game instead, you should have noticed that there seemed to be a lot of calls going against Canada in the way of fouls in the game. There were six fouls called against the Road Warriors in the first, three of which were offensive fouls which helped to lead to Uruguay getting 25-16 lead. Canada would give up eight fouls in the third and fourth quarters that possibly helped to slow momentum as well as keep players out during key moments throughout the game.
The other thing that stood out to me were the turnovers. After averaging about 13 turnovers in the last two games, Canada gave up the ball 17 times yesterday. Coach Leo’s major key in this tournament was to minimize the turnovers and until this game they had. The turnovers mounted as the game wore on and may have helped to stall momentum during potentially tide changing moments.
Outside of the downers, was there anything redeeming about the game?
Of course there was. Canada showed a great deal of heart throughout the game. After ending the first quarter down nine points, Canada did not wilt like they may have in past summers. The team would rally back to outscore Uruguay in the remaining three quarters 53-46. I think this gutsy performance yesterday shows the character of the current team, which can fight back and claw their way out of a hole despite a bad start. With teams of summers past in my mind, this is probably the best thing that the team displayed this tournament so far. I’m not sure that past teams would have been able to make the comeback to almost win against a team like Uruguay. It looks like that mental toughness that I alluded to yesterday was showing itself again when it was most needed.
I’m sure that in this game, Canada felt the fatigue of their third game in three days but they still did put on a pretty impressive showing. Despite the loss, the mettle of the team was abundantly clear. Canada did not back down and fought back to nearly come away with the win. Having already made the quarter-final round, Puerto Rico will be the true test of this team. How they perform against this team that has of late been a rising international basketball power will give us an indication as to how far Canada truly has come as a program. Expect this one to be a slugfest.
Canada will play powerhouse Puerto Rico at 9:00pm EST on The Score