Canada fell just short in their quest for the 2022 FIBA AmeriCup finals losing 86-76 in a rematch with the host nation Brazil and will now be headed to the bronze medal game where they’ll face the USA.
Brazil etched out an early lead with Victor Benite scoring 11 of his 13 points in the opening frame. Despite Canada being cold from the field to start the game, including their star player Dalano Banton, they trailed by just four points after one quarter.
Canada’s offence once again struggled in the second, with Brazil playing physical defence on Banton, who scored 12 points, four assists, and three rebounds, a tournament low for the Toronto Raptors prospect.
Leonardo Meindl built on a solid first quarter and continued to dominate offensively with 19 points to lead the Brazilian side in scoring. Lucas Dias had 14 points and eight rebounds, while Lucas Mariano had 13 points, three rebounds, and three assists as Brazil’s offence took a 44-34 lead into half time.
Just when it appeared that Canada might fade away in the second half, the Canadian offence found its rhythm on an eight-point run to start of the fourth quarter with Jahvon Henry-Blair leading all scorers with 24 points while shooting 80 per cent from the field after a slow start to the game.
A host of young Canadian talent would step up as Canadians went on another late run to grab a 76-74 lead with three minutes remaining. Former Boise State Bronco, Abu Kigab, scored 10 points, Lloyd Pandi scored nine points and grabbed four rebounds while causing havoc on defence leading to three steals, and Kadre Gray had eight points and three rebounds.
Brazil’s host nation magic began to work in response to the big runs from Canada, and they responded with an empathic 12-0 run to finish the game, and end Canada’s hopes of gold medal glory at AmeriCup.
Across the bracket, Argentina remained undefeated by taking down a USA squad that has struggled to find statement wins the same way Canada has throughout the tournament. Canada and America will renew their classic rivalry in the bronze medal game played on Sunday on DAZN.
Canada vs. Brazil semifinal boxscore click HERE.