August 23, 2001

Team Canada Continues to Advance in COPABA Tournament

Aug. 22, 2001

NEUQUEN, Argentina - The Canadian senior men's basketball team, led by former Santa Clara star Steve Nash, took another step closer to advancing to the 2002 World Championship of Basketball by defeating Uruguay, 101-77. This was Canada's second game in round two action after defeating Venezuela 108-100 on Tuesday.

Canada came out strong right from the opening tip as Steve Nash (Victoria, BC) scored seven of their first nine points taking a 14-4 lead midway through the first quarter. Canada took advantage of poor transition defence by the Uruguayan squad all game, beating them down the floor for uncontested lay-ups.

In the second half, Canada continued their dominance combining solid defence with great shooting to take a 30-point lead into the final quarter. In the fourth period, head coach Jay Triano used his bench extensively as they cruised home with the win.

"We continue to improve with each game," said Triano. "Today we played great half-court defence and had our best shooting game of the tournament (68% from 2 and 40% from 3).

"Players are feeling more comfortable with each other as the tournament goes on. I like the way we are playing heading into our next game versus a very tough Argentina team."

Nash led Canada with 21 points. Andrew Kwiatkowski (Cambridge, ON) followed with 15 points while Prosper Karangwa (Montreal, QC) recorded 14.

Canada's third of four round two games will be played Thursday, August 23, 2001 against the home team Argentina.

Against Venezuela in the first game of the second round on Tuesday, Canada surged out to an early 12-point lead in the first quarter, consistently beating the Venezuelan defenders off the dribble. Nash dished out 10 assists in the first half as Canada went into the locker room with a 58-50 at the midway break.

Todd MacCulloch (Winnipeg, MB) and Mike Meeks (Brampton, ON) were the primary beneficiaries of Nash's passes, with 15 and 12 points respectively after the first 20 minutes of play.

In the third quarter, Venezuela cut Canada's lead down to two, 60-58. But a 15-2 Canadian run gave them some breathing room and a 92-70 lead after three quarters.

Venezuela made one last run in the final period, closing to within six points, 98-92. But MacCulloch hit back-to-back buckets and Nash nailed a three to end the threat.

"We played our best game of the tournament," said head coach Jay Triano. "We were able to execute our game plan by beating them off the dribble and penetrating the lane and on the defensive side forcing them to take tough shots.

"I'm also pleased at our bench play which extended our lead late in the third quarter from 12 points to 22."

MacCulloch led Canada with 23 points and 10 boards. Nash also finished with a double-double with 20 points and 13 assists. Meeks and Andrew Kwiatkowski (Cambridge, ON) recorded 18 and 17 points each.