KAZEN, Russia – Despite 27 points from Luke Hancock (Louisville/Roanoke, Va.), the 2013 USA Basketball Men’s World University Games Team (3-2) fell to Canada (5-0) 94-85 in its final preliminary-round game on Friday afternoon at Basket Hall 1 in Kazan, Russia.
The loss dropped the USA to No. 3 in Group C, meaning the USA will not advance to the medal quarterfinals and will now compete for ninth place. The USA will play the No. 4 seed out of Group D, which will be decided following this evening’s games, at 10 a.m. (all times listed are local, Kazan is +8 hours from EDT) on July 14.
The replay of the USA/Canada game will be shown on ESPNU today (July 12 - 5 p.m.) and Saturday (July 13, 1:30 a.m.).
“Canada certainly is a very good team,” said USA head coach Bob McKillop (Davidson College). “They look like a team, they played like a team. Our guys emptied their gas tanks. They gave a great effort, but we fell short.”
Fairly even in most statistical categories, the biggest differences were Canada’s 52 points in the paint, compared to the USA’s 22 scored from the key, and 17 U.S. turnovers as opposed to Canada’s 12.
In addition to Hancock’s 27 points, Doug McDermott (Creighton/Ames, Iowa) added 17 points and nine rebounds, Cory Jefferson (Baylor/Killeen, Texas) finished with 17 points and seven boards.
CU’s Spencer Dinwiddie (Woodland Hills, Calif.) dished out a game-high eight assists for the second time in the tournament. He also had five points, four rebounds and two steals.
After five games, the CU junior-to-be leads the team in assists (27, 5.4 apg.) and is tied for the team lead in steals (7). Dinwiddie, the lone Pac-12 Conference player on the roster is averaging 8.2 points and 3.2 rebounds per game.
“We didn't defend well enough to win the game,” Hancock said. “That's as simple as it gets. If you give up that many points, it's going to be hard to win games no matter what you do.”
Eight points from Hancock and four from Jefferson helped the USA jump out to a 14-4 lead just five minutes into the game, but two 3-pointers from Canada and a score from the field helped Canada fight its way back to within two points 14-12 at 2:20. After a 3-pointer from Jefferson, Canada closed the first period on a 6-0 run to take an 18-17 advantage into the first intermission.
Canada scored first in the second quarter, but the USA battled to remain within one point for the first four minutes, trailing 25-24 after Yogi Ferrell (Indiana/Indianapolis, Ind.) made two free throws at 6:01. Canada compiled its largest fun of the game from 5:57 to 4:44, jumping ahead 35-24.
Despite three 3-pointers from the USA over last three minutes of the second quarter, Canada connected from deep and converted a three-point play to help maintain a 10-point lead, and the scoreboard read 46-36 at halftime.
Three times in the first 4:29 of the third quarter, the USA cut into the margin to pull within six points, thanks in part to eight points from McDermott during that stretch. The last time was at 5:31 after two made free throws from Jefferson, when the USA trailed 54-48.
Six unanswered points from Canada from there, however, were the start of a 15-5 run that gave Canada its largest lead of the game thus far at 16 points, 69-53, with 43.4 seconds remaining in the third. Jefferson scored from the field at 19.0 seconds and Graham sank a running 3-pointer from nearly half court at the buzzer to head into the final 10 minutes with the USA behind 69-58.
The Canadian lead jumped back to 16 points at 9:20 after a three from Brady Heslip, who led Canada with 20 points, but the USA never quit fighting. Sinking six 3-pointers in the period, the USA twice pulled within eight points over the next five minutes – 80-72 after a three from Sean Kilpatrick (Cincinnati/Yonkers, N.Y.) at 5:46 and 83-75 at 4:58 when Hancock connected from deep. Each time, Canada responded.
Down by 13 at 2:05, Hancock made another 3-pointer before sinking one-of-two free throws at 1:27 and scoring a layup at 1:07 to bring the USA within seven points, 92-85. As the USA missed its last three shot attempts, a fast-break score from Canada at 1:01 put the game’s final points on the board.
The game did not end simply, however, as the power in the arena went out at 10.6 seconds, and after a wait of approximately five minutes, the USA inbounded the ball in a darkened arena and dribbled out the clock.
“You have to give a lot of credit to Canada,” Tyler Haws (BYU/Alpine, Utah) said. “They hit big shot after big shot and had lots of threes. We probably could have done a few things better defensively, and we could have finished around the basket maybe a little bit better, but you have to give them credit. They are a good team.”
Earlier today in the USA’s Group C, Australia (4-1) downed United Arab Emirates (0-5) 131-43, finishing as the No. 2 and No. 6 seeds, respectively; while Czech Republic (2-3) topped Sweden (1-4) 65-63 to finish No. 5 and No. 5. In Group A, Ukraine (1-4) beat Oman (0-5) 99-35, taking the No. 5 and No. 6 seeds; and Estonia (4-1) beat South Korea (2-3), which finished No. 4, 68-61. In Group B, Mongolia (2-3) edged Japan (1-4) 75-72; and in Group D, Lithuania (5-0) finished as a No. 1 seed after beating Finland (2-3) 70-51.
The remaining seeding will be determined by tonight’s games, including China (0-4) versus Chile (0-4) and Serbia (4-0) against Romania (4-0) at 6 p.m.; Mexico (2-2) versus Philippines (0-4) and Brazil (2-1) against Norway (2-2) at 8:30 p.m.; and host Russia (4-0) facing off against Germany (3-1) at 9 p.m.
The first and second-placed teams in each of the four pools advance to the medal quarterfinals on July 14 to compete for first through eighth places; while the remaining teams will play out for ninth to 24th places. The semifinals will be played on July 15, and the finals will be contested on July 16.
Assisting McKillop on the USA sideline are John Beilein of the University of Michigan and Frank Martin of the University of South Carolina.
The USA currently holds a 140-11 all-time record in World University Games play.
(USA Basketball contributed to this report)