John Leong/Victory Creative

Canada sweeps China in Pacific Rim Basketball Classic

National men’s team beats China twice over weekend in Vancouver and Victoria

A hot start from the Canadian men’s basketball team was all that was needed as they defeated China once again in the second game of the Pacific Rim Basketball Classic in Victoria.

Sunday’s game was over by the end of the first quarter as Canada jumped out to an early 22-4 lead enroute to another convincing victory over China, 108-72. They also beat China in the opening game in Vancouver on Friday, 97-62 in a group effort that saw four players score in double digits.

The red and white was paced this time by 17-year-old phenom R.J. Barrett who scored a game high 21 points for the Canadian squad, to go along with three rebounds and five assists.

But it was defence that made the difference early, as Canada locked down China and limited their chances while standing tall in the paint and drawing charge fouls.

“I liked our defensive intensity. I think we have to be a little bit better with our communication on defence. As the game went on today, I thought we let them kind of get some open looks that we usually do a pretty good job of taking away,” said head coach Jay Triano.

Punishing China by pushing the pace, Team Canada continued to extend their lead, forcing China to shift their defence from zone to more paint-heavy protection. While China saw more chances around the basket during the second quarter, Team Canada carried a 24-point advantage heading into halftime.

That same dominance continued in the second half as they were locked in from beyond the arc, knocking down 20 three-pointers for the game, as they cruised to the easy victory while winning each quarter.

R.J. Barrett was named the SIXOFOUR Life Player of the Game.

“Huge honour. I try to represent my country every year if I can and I’m definitely thankful I got this opportunity,” he said after the game.

Barrett will be attending Duke University in the fall, after graduating from Montverde Academy in Florida as the consensus top basketball recruit in the class of 2018.

Fellow Montverde alum Andrew Nembhard chipped in 18 points and three assists of his own. He’s signed on to play college basketball at the University of Florida in September.

“It’s my first time out here in B.C. and the fans have been amazing the last two games. I love the environment and I’m happy to be here,” Nembhard told the crowd.

With two victories against China in the Pacific Rim Basketball Classic, Team Canada will now resume the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Americas Qualifiers.

Canada will face the Dominican Republic on June 29th in Toronto, followed by the U.S Virgin Islands on July 2nd in Ottawa.



ragnar.haagen@bpdigital.ca

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John Leong/Victory Creative

John Leong/Victory Creative

John Leong/Victory Creative

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