The Canadian U18 men’s team will be playing for the bronze medal of the FIBA U18 Americas Championship after falling 78-77 to Brazil.
Canada came into this game riding a high after a productive team performance against Puerto Rico and Michael Nwoko, who had 15 points, started the game attacking the basket and followed up a free throw with a made basket for the first points of the game and was responsible for five of Canada’s first seven points, kick starting a run that would eventually force a Brazil time out.
Elijah Fisher drew the Reynan Camilo Dos Santos match up early and held him off the scoreboard for the entire first quarter of the game, but Brazil responded after their time out with increased pressure defensively and back-to-back three pointers to cut the lead in half.
Canada’s three-point attack came to life midway through the first half, with Bubu Benjamin, who had eight points, and Vasean Allette, who had 22 points, blowing the lead wide open, making it a 30-17 game at the end of the first quarter.
Dos Santos would find his first points of his 22-point game at the free throw line at the start of the second, but Canada began to relentlessly attack the paint as Brazil adjusted to cover the three-point line and Canada’s bigs took over once again en route to a 20-point lead just before half time.
Team Canada (Courtesy FIBA/Canada Basketball)
Brazil came out of half time on an 18-4 run capitalizing on some loose play and turnovers from the Canadians with Dos Santos finding his shot again in the process. Canada struggled to find any offensive production throughout the entire third quarter and Brazil would briefly take the lead before a Allette three made it a 61-60 game heading into the fourth quarter.
Canada started the final frame by grinding out baskets, but a foul on Eduardo Bersch Klafke sent him to the line for a four-point play. Brazil would continue to take advantage of the Canadians’ turnovers and went toe-to-toe with Allette who took over the offence for Canada.
The game came down to the final moments, where Allette tied the game with a ferocious drive to the basket with less than a minute remaining and Oliveira would miss an ill-advised three. After a missed jump shot from Dylan Grant, Benjamin leapt into the air fouling Oliveira sending him to the line where Brazil would win the game and storm the court.
The loss sets up a rematch with the Argentina team that handed Canada their lone defeat during group phase. The game will take place on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. est. and will be viewable on the FIBA YouTube channel.
For link to watch the Bronze medal game between Canada/Argentina click HERE!
Semifinals: Canada vs. Brazil BOXSCORE click HERE & video below: