KAZAN, Russia – Gonzaga University junior Kevin Pangos scored 9 points and Canada’s Development Men’s National Team defeated the United States 94-85 Friday to win Group C at the 2013 FISU Universiade and enter medal round play at 5-0.
The loss dropped the Americans out of medal competition at 3-2. The best the U.S. can finish is ninth.
Canada will face either Brazil (3-1), Norway (2-2) or Finland (3-2) as the runner-up in Group D in Sunday’s quarterfinal of what is also known as the World University Games. Brazil and Norway play later Friday, a Brazil victory sending them to the quarterfinals. A Norway victory creates a three-way tie for second and would involve tiebreakers to determine Canada’s opponent. Lithuania won Pool D with a 5-0 mark.
Pangos, averaging 9.8 ppg, 2.0 rpg and 2.6 assists/game through the completion of pool play, went 4-for-9 from the field Friday, including 1-2 from 3-point range. He also grabbed two rebounds and had a pair of assists in 21 minutes.
Team USA opened the match on a 14-4 run, powered by the hot hand of Luke Hancock, but Team Canada quickly countered. Back-to-back three-pointers from Philip Scrubb and Brady Heslip – who each notched an assist on the other’s shot – began a 14-3 stretch as Canada built an 18-17 advantage after the game’s first 10 minutes. Canada’s offence shone through with a 28-point second quarter; the team’s defense held firm and limited the Americans to 19 in the frame.
The teams traded chances in the third quarter. Team USA came out of the break shooting the ball well, but Waterloo, Ont. native Murphy Burnatowski answered with five straight points. A frantic quarter saw both sides pushing hard, but Canada established its largest lead of the game at 16 points after Dwight Powell found a streaking Melvin Ejim for an emphatic slam dunk. After 30 minutes of play, Canada held an 11-point lead over the American side.
The back-and-forth action continued in the final period with the Red and White looking to close-out the contest and Team USA attempting to shoot its way back into the game. Heslip and Powell combined for 15 points as a determined Canadian side held off the American’s advance. Hancock contributed 14 of his game-high 27 points in the frame, but his lone effort was not enough to counter the Canadians’ balanced offence.
Canada’s team of student-athletes was led by another impressive shooting performance from Burlington, Ontario’s Heslip, who finished with 20 points in the match, including four baskets from beyond-the-arc. Heslip has now recorded 18 three-pointers in Team Canada’s five games. Calgary, Alta. native Jordan Bachynski added 13 points in the contest. Powell, a product of Toronto, Ont., added 10 points and 6 rebounds. The Canadians’ relentless attack from in-close produced 52 points in the paint while Team USA was held to 22 around the basket.