Brady Heslip of Burlington, Ont., poured in 20 points to lead Canada’s men’s basketball team to a 94-85 victory over the United States at the Summer Universiade on Friday, propelling the Canadians into the quarter-finals.
Canada finished first in Pool C with a perfect 5-0 record, and faces Brazil on Sunday. Australia (4-1) finished second and advanced to the quarters, while the Americans (3-2) were relegated to the consolation side of the draw.
Canada’s speedy lineup of Melvin Ejim of Brampton, Ont., and Toronto’s Daniel Mullings and Dwight Powell was effective in the closing five minutes when the Americans tried to mount a comeback.
“When you put us all in the lineup together there are a lot of mismatches, it’s really fun to play with those guys,” said Ejim, who grabbed seven rebounds and had a memorable two-handed breakaway dunk. “It’s been a great opportunity to play with them and bring that spark to the games.”
The Canadians last won FISU gold in 1983, a team that was led by Jay Triano.
Triano is coaching the men’s team in Russia.
The game came to a strange ending when arena lights and scoreboard went out with 10 seconds remaining. After a five-minute delay, the teams decided to dribble out the clock in the semi-darkness.
Canada’s women’s volleyball team, meanwhile, dropped a straight-set decision (25-17, 25-16, 26-24) to Thailand in its first quarter-final appearance since 2001.
Shanice Marcelle of Victoria had seven kills, two blocks and 11 digs. Lucy Charuk of Tsawwassen, B.C., finished with four blocks and two kills, while middle Alicia Perrin of Creston, B.C., had five kills and three blocks.
The best Canada can finish is fifth, but is already guaranteed its best result since an eighth-place finish in 2001 in Beijing.
“Despite the loss, we’re still motivated and we want to go as far as possible in the tournament. Reaching the quarters was already a good step for the team. Now, we want to finish as high as we can,” said Canadian head coach Arnd Ludwig.