Late push sends Brazil past Canada

CanBasketball_CorpSan Juan, Puerto Rico – Brazil came together at the end of Monday’s (Aug. 26) game to edge the Senior Men’s National Team, 77-70. The game marks the end of the five-team, four-game Tuto Marchand Continental Cup.

The match began at a mild pace as both teams found it difficult to create a sustained offence. The back-and-forth quarter ended with Brazil ahead 18-14 on the strength of a long three-point buzzer beater. Team Canada opened the second well on a 9-2 run, but a resilient Brazilian squad fought back to trail 33-30 in the half’s final seconds. The period ended just as the first quarter had: a long desperation three-pointer by Brazil found its way into the hoop and the game was knotted at the break.

An energized Team Brazil opened the third period with a strong run to build a 12-point advantage at one point, but Canada responded with hard work on both sides of the court. Centre Joel Anthony of Montreal, registered three blocks late in the frame to hold Brazil scoreless as Canada went on a 9-0 run to close the deficit to 54-52 at the end of 30 minutes.

Both sides battled hard in a see-saw fourth which featured two ties and several lead-changes. By the midway mark of the frame, the score was tied 61-61. The two teams traded shots through the game’s closing minutes, but the South American side held a slim 70-68 lead with 37 seconds remaining. A timely three-pointer and made free-throws down the stretch sealed the victory for Team Brazil.

Canada was led by Pickering, Ont. product Cory Joseph who finished with a game-high 20 points. Joining him in double-digit scoring was Andrew Nicholson of Mississauga, Ont. who posted 17 and Burlington’s Brady Heslip who notched 14 in the match. Anthony finished with four blocks and his total of six rebounds was second only to Vancouver, B.C. native Levon Kendall’s nine – a game-high which included six on the offensive side.

The Tuto Marchand Continental Cup takes place every two years and serves as a warm-up tournament for the FIBA Americas Championship for Men. The 2013 edition of the competition – which will be staged in Caracas, Venezuela – is slated to begin on Aug. 30 with Team Canada opening against Jamaica. The SMNT began its summer competitive season with a pair of victories over Team Jamaica in the 2013 Jack Donohue International Classic.