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Tiebreaker Times

2016 Manila OQT

Triano credits Senegal for pushing Canada to the limit


Canadian national team head coach Jay Triano credited Senegal for the AfroBasket representative’s outstanding defense against Canada on Wednesday night.

Canada escaped Senegal, 58-55, to sweep Group A of the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila, Philippines, and advance to the semi-finals against the loser of the France-New Zealand affair.

The team, though, had to weather a huge scare from the determined Senegalese squad.

“Great game if you love defense. I thought both teams were very good defensively. Senegal, credit to their team and their coach. They did a really good job disrupting us and taking us away from our transition and our ability to hit three-point shots,” Triano said.

Canada, a team that loved to go after opponents in transition during the 2015 FIBA Americas Championship, were limited against Senegal as the latter forced the former to play at a deliberate pace.

Canada had shot 42.2 percent from the field in their 77-69 win over Turkey the day before, which included 7-for-19 from three-point distance. Against Senegal, however, Canada’s field goal percentage plummeted to only 32.3 percent. In addition, they shot only 2-for-17 from three-point distance.

“I thought they played a great game defensively and we struggled on the offensive end because of what they did. Very well-fought game and we are just fortunate to get the victory,” Triano added.

One of the main factors that made the game so difficult for Triano’s boys to execute was Senegal’s ball pressure against Canada’s chief facilitator, Cory Joseph.

“I thought that they switched a lot on us, and the guys that were switching on us were just as good in containing the basketball. It made it difficult for us to get into our drive and kick game, and I thought they played a great game,” Triano said.

#ReadMore  Osman likely to miss Turkey's game against Senegal

“They were long, they blocked I think eight shots, so when we got to the rim, they were still there.”

Joseph had led Canada against Turkey with 21 points on 8-for-17 shooting and five assists, but struggled against Senegal’s length and on-ball defense.

“That made it real difficult. Cory does a great job getting into the lane and creating for us offensively. I thought he was the focus of them and their defense. I thought they did a great job of disrupting him,” Triano shared.

Joseph only had 13 points on 4-for-12 shooting and two assists in the victory. Melvin Ejim stepped up with 11 points and eight boards.

Maurice Ndour’s 16 points, 10 rebounds, and five blocks led Senegal.

“He still made a couple of plays when he had to, but they tried to take him away and out of what we were trying to do. I give them a lot of credit. That is why the game was so close,” Triano added.

The mentor added that Canada should play at a higher level in the semi-finals if they want to claim a ticket to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics in Brazil.

“We are going to have to be a lot better. We’re two games in and we are going to have to be better from here on,” Triano concluded.

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