September 19, 2000

Canada Knocks-off Angola in Olympic Hoops Action

Sept. 18, 2000

SYDNEY, Australia - Rowan Barrett doesn't want to know anything about the men's Olympic basketball tournament except that Canada is unbeaten and Spain is next on the schedule.

"I don't know the format purposely and when anyone starts talking about it, my ears are closed," Barrett said after scoring 21 points in Canada's 99-54 victory over Angola on Tuesday. "I'll just let things take care of themselves."

After Canada upset the host country in the opening game, suddenly the talk is of it being a medal contender, something the team felt coming in although few of those predicting the medalists agreed.

"Our team is focused on the process here and we're happy with that," said Barrett, who played at St. John's and now plays professionally in Venezuela. "As long as we stay focused on that, whether we're playing Australia, Angola or the U.S., it will stay the same."

There was no letdown against Angola (0-2) in Canada's first game since the 101-90 victory over Australia.

"I'm more relieved than glad," said Canada coach Jay Triano, who played on the country's last Olympic team in 1988. "This was one of those games you can only lose. We did what we had to do to win."

That meant getting off to a good start and Barrett was a big part of that, scoring 13 points as Canada took a 23-9 lead in the opening 71/2 minutes and then stretched the lead to 50-29 at halftime.

Former Santa Clara star Steve Nash of the Dallas Mavericks had nine points and five assists against Angola. He has 20 assists in Canada's two games.

"Steve and I have been playing together since we were 16, 17 years old so we've been together for a while and our games complement each other," said Barrett, 27. "He really makes it happen for us."

Canada shot 62 percent from the field (34-for-55) against Angola, including 9-for-19 from 3-point range.

Victor Carvalho led Angola with 10 points.

The talk of the medal round is now circulating around the Canadian team. Before the Olympics, it was only the Canadian players talking about it. No longer.

"We can't get caught up in that. We just have to play each game," Triano said. "This is always a crazy tournament. Things always happen."