July 14, 2013, KAZAN, Russia (Team Canada) (ISN) – Canada advanced to the men’s basketball Final Four at the Summer Universiade following its 88-77 victory over Brazil in Sunday’s quarter-final.
The reigning FISU silver medallists will face host Russia on Monday at 4:30 p.m. local time (8:30 a.m. ET) in their 13th semifinal in 21 all-time appearances at the biennial tournament, live on www.fisu.tv.
Canada’s pair of scoring leaders stepped up again against Brazil. Brady Heslip of Burlington, Ont., netted 20 points and led a charge early in the fourth quarter which acted as the game’s turning point. Dwight Powell of Toronto (Stanford University) counted 15 points and six rebounds despite early foul trouble.
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Summer Universiade website: www.kazan2013.com/en
Heslip, who was leading his troops in scoring for the fifth time in six matches, keyed the fourth frame surge by sinking a three-pointer to open the stanza. The 6-foot guard from Baylor University then proceeded to drive the middle of the paint, picking up crucial fouls on Brazil’s big post Christiano Felicio, who scored 10 points before fouling out of the game with 6:48 to play. Heslip earned 12 trips to free throw line, where he was perfect on the night.
“If they’re going to take away his shot, it opens up drives,” said Canadian head coach Jay Triano of Heslip’s work in the fourth. “Even if he gets it up and off the glass, it’s not a bad play. Our job on the glass was outstanding.”
Kingston, Ont., native Owen Klassen (Acadia University) was in the post while the squad battled to maintain their lead. “I know my job is to just take up space and go for every rebound,” he said. “When I start diving and going for rebounds that forces them to key in on me a little bit and it spaces out the floor.”
Klassen finished the game with six rebounds, including four on the offensive end, to go along with three points.
Another key member of the swing shift which sealed the victory for Canada was Kyle Wiltjer of West Linn, Ore. (Kentucky), who sat for the entire first half as the odd man out on Canada’s two shifts of players. Wiltjer sank two three-pointers in the fourth to re-establish 10-point cushions at key moments.
“He’s stayed real positive and he’s stayed in the game, which is a sign of his character. When we put him in here we thought he might change the game with some freshness and he did with his ability to shoot the basketball,” said Triano.
Wiltjer finished the game with 11 points. Melvin Ejim of Toronto (Iowa State) also cracked into the double-digits with 12 points as Triano continued to employ the five-minute shift strategy which has showcased the team’s depth.
“We’re all used to playing thirty minutes back home and to be able to play twenty minutes full out is awesome; you get to see what people can actually do,” said Klassen. “This is one of the best teams that I’ve ever played with,” he continued. “We’re having a good time and I think that we have a chance to win the whole thing.”
Brazil’s offensive effort was paced by shooting guard Andre Silva, who netted 15 points to keep his squad within striking distance. Brazil’s largest lead of the game came at the 20-15 mark near the end of the first quarter, and the lead changed hands ten times.
The Canadians have less than twenty-four hours to regroup before taking to the court against Russia.
“So far they’ve proven that they’re the best team in the tournament,” said Triano of the hosts. “It’s a great opportunity for our team to play in a country where the home team is the favourite and playing so well.”
BOXSCORE: Canada vs Brazil