Kazan, Russia – The Canadian student men’s team earned a 94-85 victory over the United States at the FISU Summer Universiade. The win puts Canada in first place in pool C with a perfect 5-0 record. Team USA dropped to 3-2 following two straight losses to end the preliminary round of the Universiade, also known as the World University Games.
Team USA opened Friday’s (July 12) match on a 14-4 run, powered by the hot hand of Luke Hancock, but Team Canada quickly countered. Back-to-back three-pointers from Philip Scrubb and Burlington’s Brady Heslip – who each notched an assist on the other’s shot – began a 14-3 stretch as Canada built an 18-17 advantage after the first 10 minutes. Canada’s offence shone through with a 28-point second quarter; the team’s defence held firm and limited the Americans to 19 in the frame.
The teams traded chances in the third quarter. Team USA came out of the break shooting the ball well, but Waterloo, Ont. native Murphy Burnatowski answered with five straight points. A frantic quarter saw both sides pushing hard, but Canada established its largest lead of the game at 16 points after Dwight Powell found a streaking Melvin Ejim for an emphatic slam dunk. After 30 minutes of play, Canada held an 11-point lead over the Americans.
The back-and-forth action continued in the final period with the Red and White looking to close-out the contest and Team USA attempting to shoot its way back into the game. Heslip and Powell combined for 15 points as a determined Canadian side held off the American’s advance.
Hancock contributed 14 of his game-high 27 points in the frame, but his lone effort was not enough to counter Canada’s balanced offence.
Canada’s team of student-athletes was led by another impressive shooting performance from Heslip, who finished with 20 points in the match, including four baskets from beyond-the-arc. Heslip has now recorded 18 three-pointers in Team Canada’s five games. Calgary native Jordan Bachynski added 13 points in the contest. Powell, a product of Toronto, added 10 points and six rebounds.
The Canadians’ relentless attack from in-close produced 52 points in the paint while Team USA was held to 22 around the basket.
The victory sends 5-0 Canada through to the quarter-finals, along with the Australians who finished pool C play at 4-1. The Americans fell out of medal-contention and will enter the consolation round. Canada will match-up against the second-place finisher of pool D on Sunday (July 14) at 10 a.m. (ET). The game can be seen live online at www.fisu.tv.