The Canadians narrowly avoided a disastrous finish at FIBA AmeriCup 2022 by beating Colombia 62-61 to move on to the quarter-finals.
Trae Bell-Haynes started out hot for Canada and scored 10 of his 19 points in the first ten minutes of the game, but the trend of prolonged scoreless droughts continued for Team Canada, as their offence cratered in the second quarter, scoring just nine points after taking a 21-16 lead in the first quarter.
Colombia was led by a gritty performance by Jamie Echenique, who had 18 points, six rebounds, and two blocks, and Juan Tello, who had a 14-point and 10 rebound double-double.
Toronto Raptor Dalano Banton was held to five points in the first half of the game but found ways to get on the scoreboard in the second half on his way to 20 points, five rebounds and five assists.
Canada began to work its way back into the game behind their two leading scorers, and former U Sports men’s basketball Player of the Year, Lloyd Pandi, found ways to battle down low with Colombia’s bigs and came away with seven rebounds and defensive stops in big moments.
With just under three minutes remaining, the score was tied up at 61 points and both teams locked in on defence. Bell-Haynes got the ball in transition with less than five seconds remaining, and Colombia opted to send him to the free-throw line with an intentional foul at half court despite having two players in position to contest Bell-Haynes at the rim. With 1.8 seconds remaining, Bell-Haynes sunk the first to take the lead and intentionally missed the second to take all the time left off the clock.
Another day of rest awaits Canada after their win, and the team will now have to wait and see which of the remaining seven teams they’re matched up with on Thursday when the AmeriCup resumes for quarterfinal action.
Canada vs. Colombia boxscore click HERE.
Dalano Banton led Canada with 20pts 5rebs 5asts (Photos courtesy FIBA)