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Canada can finally call themselves world champs
CAIRO (FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2017) - Canada finally claimed their space atop the world of basketball, completing a magical run in Cairo with a 79-60 victory over Italy to capture their first-ever FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup title.
Canada’s star young prospect RJ Barrett once again led the way - as he has all tournament - with team highs of 18 points and 10 rebounds to go with four assists while Abu Kigab chipped in 12 points, 10 rebounds and two assists. Barrett, who was two years younger than the rest of the competition, ended up as the tournament’s leading scorer at 21.6 points a game and took home the MVP Award offered by Tissot with Kigab joining him on the All-Star Five.
Barrett started hot right away for Canada, scoring seven points in the first quarter as there was no case of letdown for Canada after upsetting the two-time reigning champions United States in the Semi-Finals.
In addition to Barrett, Canada also got seven first quarter points from Lindell Wigginton, who was playing again after missing the Quarter-Finals and Semi-Finals with a concussion. And the Canadians led 24-10 after 10 minutes - also because they dominated the glass with as many offensive rebounds (eight) as Italy had total boards.
The second quarter saw Nate Darling come off the Canadian bench and provide the spark with eight points in the period, in which the North Americans extended the lead to 41-20. David Okeke tallied eight points for Italy in the quarter to try to keep the team in the game, but Canada led 51-36 at the break.
The third quarter was more about defense for Canada, holding Italy to just 12 points - though Lorenzo Penna worked hard to pull the Italians closer. But the lead was 69-48 with 10 minutes to go.
The fourth quarter was more of the same - Canada doing just enough offensively but more importantly keeping Italy from coming back. And the result was never in doubt.
Okeke led Italy with 14 points to go with 10 rebounds while Oxilia had a double-double of his own with 12 points and 10 rebounds. And Penna chipped in 12 points in the loss.
The Canadians of course were thrilled to win the title but the Italians were also satisfied to have even reached their first U19 final since 1991.