The Canada men delivered their best performance to date against a formidable Australian side in the afternoon group game.
Canada started the game strong and maintained its composure despite some slick three-point shooting early by the Aussies. Canada held their own against the physical play of the reigning world champions, as Australia led 21-16 after the first quarter. Canada continued to grind it out in the second quarter, keeping pace with the Australians to trail by eight points, 36-28, at halftime.
Australia turned up the heat in the second half and came out shooting to start the third quarter, clearly determined to dash any hopes of a Canadian comeback. Canada stuck with it through three quarters but began to fade down the stretch. With a 58-44 lead going into the final quarter, Australia continued to apply the pressure to put the game out of reach for the Canadian side.
Canada’s Head Coach, Steve Bialowas, said “It was a great game against the defending world champions and a very experienced team in Australia. I thought the guys did really well and we put three good quarters together.
“This is all a part of the process. Our young players are gaining more experience every game so we are seeing an improvement every game. Tomorrow is another day and hopefully we can make further improvements both on offence and defence with two games to go.”
Australia’s top scorer, Tristan Knowles, said “We are were we want to be at the stage of the tournament, we’ve got a pretty quick turnaround for tomorrow with a 9.30 game against Spain who are playing some pretty physical, up tempo basketball so we can’t celebrate where we are at the moment, we just need to concentrate on the game tomorrow.
“A big part of our group one gold in Beijing in 2008 so we know what that feels like to win the holy grail and we know what it feels like to fall one short which is pretty terrible. The last four years that Canada put on us in London has been motivating us and I think back on my 15 years career and I can’t think of an easy game we’ve played against the Canadians. I don’t think the score today was indicative of how difficult the first three quarters were for us.”
For full match statistics click here https://www.rio2016.com/en/paralympics/wheelchair-basketball-mens-group-a-preliminary-wb-15