The Senior Men’s National Team defeated Venezuela 75-66 on Tuesday evening in their final Group Phase game of the FIBA AmeriCup 2017.
Canada finishes the tournament with a 1-2 record and will not advance to the semifinals.
Xavier Rathan-Mayes led Canada with 22 points and eight rebounds while Andrew Nicholson added an additional 12 points in the victory. Dyshawn Pierre controlled the boards for Canada and finished the contest with a team-high 11 rebounds.
“We all got better collectively as a team from the start of training camp to the last game today. Great group of guys, always on the same page and fighting for the same goals.” Andrew Nicholson said after the game, “Great leadership from Coach Rana and the coaching staff. I think we did a good job this week showing how we played with pride and a lot of energy.“
Despite eight points from Rathan-Mayes in the opening frame, Canada found themselves trailing Venezuela 23-18 at the end of the first quarter. A back-and-forth second saw Canada reclaim the lead with 2:49 to play in the half and enter the break up 29-27.
The see-saw battle continued in the third as the lead changed hands several times before the quarter came to a close tied 48-48. Seeking revenge against the defending champions, an inspired Canadian contingent closed the game with a 27-18 advantage in the final quarter to seal the win and eliminate Venezuela from medal contention.
““With the new format, it’s going to take a lot of players. It’s going to take our NBA players like Andrew and it’s going to take some of our young players that have made their first appearances for our country.” Head Coach Roy Rana said, I think that’s the beauty of what we saw these past three days here is that we are really starting to show our depth as far as our players are concerned, as we have young players here. Hopefully that’s going to pay dividends going into November and February.”
The victory was Canada’s second in the past three contests against Venezuela, while the two teams have split their previous six games dating back to an 80-73 win for Canada at the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship in Las Vegas.