by James Keogh, Vikes Athletics
2011 Summer Universiade Blog
SHENZHEN, China (CIS) – They had dominated teams in the second half throughout the 26th Summer Universiade, but Monday, on the biggest stage, Canada’s dreams of gold faded away over the final 20 minutes, as Serbia prevailed 68-55 to claim their second straight FISU men’s basketball championship.
The game marked Canada’s fifth all-time appearance in a FISU men’s basketball final and their fourth silver medal, the first since placing second in 1997 in Sicily, Italy. Canada was hoping for its second Universiade title, 28 years after its triumph in Edmonton.
It was also Canada’s seventh overall medal at the Shenzhen games.
The Canadians had previously beaten Serbia 70-67 in their second match during pool play but the story of Monday night’s game was Canada’s anemic offensive performance in the second half. The Canadians shot a paltry 4-for-26 in the final two quarters, unable to even hit one field goal in the third after leading 34-32 at halftime.
Mladen Jeremic scored 17 points in the win, as the Serbians used their significant size advantage to create space in the half court, slowing the game to a crawl over the final 20 minutes to win.
“I’m really not sure what happened, we just started missing shots and couldn’t get into any type of rhythm,” said Team Canada head coach Kevin Hanson of the second half. “It’s been a tremendous journey, I’ve loved working with our coaching staff, our training staff and these players have been just tremendous. With only four days to work together before this tournament started, I don’t think a lot of people back home thought we would make it this far, this is a gutsy group of guys and I am extremely proud.”
Ottawa’s Tyson Hinz and Nathan Yu of Prince George, B.C., tied for the team lead with 14 points for Canada in the loss. Hinz generated the first ten points of the game for Canada but was held without a field goal for the remaining 36 minutes, missing his next 13 attempts from the floor.
“All the credit goes to Serbia, they stayed aggressive and we just weren’t aggressive enough,” said Hinz, who won the 2011 CIS national championship as a student at Carleton University and is the reigning CIS player of the year. “Our goal was to win gold, and to come this close is tough. This group did a great job to come together in such short a time, but we were one win away from what we wanted to accomplish.”
Throughout the tournament, it had been the third quarter when Canada was putting opponents away, but in the finale to say the Canadians offence during the frame was lackluster would be kind. Canada was held to a tournament low six points during the period, and were unable to hit one field goal, fortunate to trail by only nine (49-40) heading into the fourth.
“I take the blame, we were trying to get Tyson quality looks, but we could never seem to get rolling,” said Yu, a point guard at the University of British Columbia. “We were trying to run, and they were able to slow us down. It’s been an amazing experience, I’m proud to have been given this opportunity and I think our performance here speaks volumes about CIS basketball.”
Hinz scored the opening ten points for the Canadians to open the first quarter on a 10-to-7 run, connecting on his first four shots of the game, including back-to-back three-pointers. Canada led by as much as four points in the first, and headed into the second clinging to a 19-17 advantage.
In the second quarter, the Canadians led twice by three points, but neither team seemed to find their offensive rhythm in the frame, and the Canucks went into the half up 34-32.
Serbia pulled away in the fourth, while Yu, Edmonton’s Jordan Baker and Toronto’s Boris Bakovic all fouled out before the night was done. Serbia finished the game shooting 47 per cent from the field (23-for-49) and won despite being out rebounded by Canada 41-to-35.
In the bronze medal game, Lithuania came back from a 35-24 halftime deficit to beat Russia 76-74. Ernestas Ezerskis led the Lithuanians with 25 points.
Canada men's basketball medals at Universiade Games (9)
1983 (Edmonton, Canada): 83-68 win over Yugoslavia in final
2011 (Shenzhen, China)
1997 (Sicily, Italy)
1993 (Buffalo, USA)
1991 (Sheffield, England)
2007 (Bangkok, Thailand)
2003 (Daegu, South Korea)
1995 (Fukuoka, Japan)
1985 (Kobe, Japan)
What Canada Did on Monday, August 22
Canada (5-2) loses to Serbia (6-1) 68-55 in final, finishes second.
Canada (3-2-1) defeats Colombia (2-4) 1-0, finishes ninth.
Canada (5-2) loses to Brazil (6-1) 3-1 (25-20, 25-15, 19-25, 25-19), finishes fourth. (Stats)
Men’s volleyball: Canada settles for fourth
Canada’s search for its third Universiade medal in men’s volleyball came to a disappointing end on Monday evening as the red and white team dropped a 3-1 (25-20, 25-15, 19-25, 25-19) decision to Brazil in the third-place match.
Despite the loss, the Canadians bettered their sixth position from the last world university games in 2009 in Serbia. After going undefeated in pool play and downing South Korea in four sets in the quarter-finals, Canada ended the competition with back-to-back losses to the Ukraine and Brazil to finish with a 5-2 overall record.
Canada’s two podium finishes in men’s volleyball at the Universiade – both silver medals – came in 1983 in Edmonton and 2007 in Bangkok.
“We executed well tonight, but we played a very talented team that didn’t give us a lot of room and made us pay for every mistake,” said Team Canada and University of Winnipeg head coach Larry McKay. “It’s disappointing right now but when we look at this fourth place, we’ll realize it’s a very good result. It was an honour to represent Canada at this prestigious event.”
One of the more imposing teams in the tournament with seven of 12 players 6-foot-7 or taller – compared to three for Canada – the Brazilians showed their hitting prowess at the net the entire match.
Canada started strong in the opening set jumping to a quick 6-2 lead. Brazil was forced to call a timeout, and then the Wallace Souza show began.
The Brazilian star was the team kill leader and was a hitting machine during the whole set, adding blocks and service winners to his offensive outburst. Brazil led 16-14 at the second technical break and pulled away with consecutive kills by Souza for a 21-16 advantage en route to the 25-20 win.
In the second frame, it was more of the same as Souza dominated with assistance from fellow hitter Rogerio Nougueira. Brazil was never in trouble as the Canadians seemed overmatched and never got closer than four points after the first technical, on its way to a 25-15 loss.
With a medal on the line, Canada played one of its strongest sets of the tourney in the third. As the Shenzhen Gymnasium crowd cheered the Red and White to prolong the match, Spencer Leiske of Lacombe, Alta., the main offensive threat. Canada was ahead at the second technical timeout at 16-14 and, at 21-19, Leiske had a sideline kill followed by a block, while captain Rudy Verhoeff of Victoria registered two middle hits for a 25-19 set win.
In the fourth, Canada’s comeback was stopped as Luis Fonteles was the go-to-guy for Brazil. The South Americans opened up a 17-12 lead after his kill and a three-person block on the next Canadian attack, and the victors never looked back to secure the match.
“We played a really good team and were just ok the first two sets before stepping it up in the third, “stated Leiske. “We were looking for the win but Top 4 in the world feels good. Lots of teams would like to be in our position today and we’re happy with our overall team performance at the Universiade.”
Leiske had a match-high 18 kills. For Brazil, Souza had 15 and Fonteles finished with 13.
2011 Summer Universiade
About the Summer Universiade
The Summer Universiade is an international multi-sport event that takes place every two years and is second only to the Olympic Games in the number of participating athletes and countries. Close to 9,000 athletes from over 150 countries will compete in Shenzhen. The Universiade is open to competitors who are at least 17 and less than 28 years of age as of January 1 in the year of the Games. Participants must be full-time students at a post-secondary institution (university, college, CEGEP) or have graduated from a post-secondary institution in the year preceding the event.