Andrew Nicholson had a dominant performance for Canada putting up 31 points and adding 9 rebounds and Jamal Murray and Anthony Bennett came on late, as Team Canada got the victory over the United States by a score of 111-108 in the Men’s Basketball Semi-Final on Friday in the former Maple Leaf Gardens.
Canada defeats United States in Men’s Basketball Semi-Final
The Canadian Team came out strong, with Nicholson leading the way and had a one point lead after the first quarter and five point lead at half-time. Nicholson gave the Americans trouble as he was able to drive past the American big men, and was hitting with high efficiency from the outside when they tried to guard him with smaller players.
However the United States was on fire in the third quarter, particularly from three-point range, as they put up 33 points in the quarter, and took a six point lead into the final frame.
Canada closed the gap and took the lead by going on an 11-2 run early in the fourth. As Nicholson seemed to cool off, Anthony Bennett and Jamal Murray heated up, leading the Canadians back into the game.
Bennett, the former first overall NBA Draft pick, was plagued by foul trouble through the first three quarters, and that held his numbers in check. However a strong fourth quarter meant that he still finished with 18 points, including five in overtime, while also cleaning up on the glass with 15 rebounds.
18-year old University of Kentucky commit Jamal Murray did not have a point in the first three quarters, but put up 14 points in the fourth, and another eight in overtime to finish with 22 points. He got hot and hit several big three-pointers, including one to tie the game at 97 with 36 seconds left. He then came up with a big block at the defensive end, to set up the final play of regulation. He missed a 20 foot floater to end regulation time. He made up for that miss with a pair of clutch threes in overtime.
Canada will play Brazil in tomorrow’s gold medal game, while the United States will take on the Dominican Republic for the Bronze.