Canada exploded from the gate at the FIBA Tournament of the Americas in Puerto Rico yesterday, blowing out Mexico 95-40 in their first game of round-robin play, recording one of the most dominating results in the recent history of the national men's team.
Canada jumped to a 30-13 first quarter lead, led by 10 quick points by Toronto's Olu Famutimi and capped by a 70-foot heave at the buzzer by Vancouver's Tyler Kepkay. The game was essentially over by the mid-point of the second quarter as Canada extended their lead with a 13-4 run.
Andy Rautins - the Syracuse University senior and son of head coach Leo Rautins - led Canada with 18 points as he connected on six-of-nine three-point attempts. Carl English of St. John's added 17 points as he shot five-of-nine from behind the arc. Levon Kendall of Vancouver had 11 rebounds while Jermaine Anderson of Toronto had seven of Canada's 30 assists. Canada shot 49.3 per cent from the floor and 57.6 per cent from the three-point line.
"We're an energy team," Leo Rautins said in a conference call. "We have to play a high-energy game in any situation, but especially in an environment like this where Mexico has to play the late game night before."
Defensively they were crisp in their rotations and active with their hands, holding Mexico to a miserable 21.7 per cent shooting overall and just three-of-22 from the three-point line. Canada out-rebounded Mexico 47-30.
"To hold any team at this level to 40 points - whether they're tired or not - it's a pretty good job. I was very impressed our guys in terms of the effort there," Rautins said.
Mexico was coming off an 81-68 loss to Puerto Rico and drops to 0-2 in Group A play, while Canada opens 1-0.
Canada never took their foot off the gas, as they had a 28-point lead at half and led by 45 at the end of three quarters, a wise move as one of the tiebreakers in the event is point differential.
The 10-team tournament is held every two years and is either a qualifier for the Olympics or world championships. Canada finished fifth at the event in 2007. The top four teams from this event advance to the world championships in Turkey next summer. The United States have already qualified as the gold-medal winners from the 2008 Olympics.
Canada plays its second game of the tournament today against the U.S. Virgin Islands at 4 p.m (EDT) and will be broadcast live on The Score.
With files from The Canadian Press
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