On to the semifinals!
Powered by a big time double-double from Zach Edey and a game-high 25 point outing from Caleb Houstan, Canada escaped from their quarterfinal game at the FIBA U19 World Cup against Spain with a 81-77 victory. That game will definitely be tomorrow, July 10th, but the time and opponent is still up in the air for the time being.
It was a close game all the way through, although Spain did lead by five late in the second quarter at one point. It was knotted up at 18 each at the end of the first, and Spain only led 39-37 at halftime. Canada held a 21-20 advantage in the third quarter to make it a 59-58 game favoring the Spaniards with 10 minutes to play.
Spain scored first in the fourth frame on a three-pointer by Ruben Lopez De La Torre to send Canada into a four point hole, but a dunk by Edey and a triple by Houstan had the Canadians out in front, 63-62 with 7:30 to play. Spain answered with a three from Guillem Ferrando to retake the lead, but that’s when Canada asserted themselves.
Ferrando’s bucket came with 6:30 to go, and Spain would not score again for nearly three minutes. By then, Canada had run off eight straight points to take a 71-65 lead, with Houstan scoring the first six. Spain snapped their scoreless streak with a free throw, and some turnovers from the Canadians let their opponents back into the game. All of a sudden, instead of Canada playing out the string and wrapping things up quietly, it was a 73-70 game with 2:15 to go.
Ryan Nembhard scored on a layup to put Canada up five, but Hector Alderete answered with a three for Spain to cut that margin back to just two with 1:37 to go. Two gutsy free throws from Nembhard had Canada up four, but after Houstan couldn’t convert a layup after coming up with a steal, Spain got a layup of their own to make it 77-75 with 51 seconds left.
Houstan redeemed himself by getting to the rim for a layup with 32 seconds to go, and that was just enough for Canada to secure the win. Spain had to foul after Millan Jimenez scored with 25 seconds to go, and Nembhard calmly drained his freebies to ice the game.
We didn’t get to mention Marquette transfer Olivier-Maxence Prosper whilst discussing what happened here, and such is life when you’re not the primary option for Team Canada. Still, Prosper started for head coach Paul Weir and chipped in three points, three rebounds, and an assist in 18 minutes of action. He was 1-for-6 from the field, which is not super great, and probably had something to do with the coaching staff limiting him to less than half the game.
As I type this, FIBA has not put highlights up on YouTube, which may have something to do with the game being broadcast on ESPN+.
Up Next: Well, we don’t know for sure who and when Canada will play next, although we know that their semifinal game will be tomorrow, Saturday, July 10th. It will either be the United States or Senegal for sure, but that game won’t be played until 10am Central Time, and that’s still over two hours from now as I type. Senegal beat host Latvia, 57-44 in the Round of 16, while the US stomped South Korea, 132-60. Canada and Senegal were in the same group for pool play, and Canada won, 85-56. The Americans won every pool play game by at least 20 points, so I’m going to presume they’ll be favored and in fact likely to advance to face the Canadians on Saturday.
That game will be on ESPN+ again, and based on their schedule page, it will be played at either 10 am Central or 1pm Central.