Brazil holds off Canada's comeback attempt to play for gold in front of home crowd
RECIFE (Brazil) – Brazil solidified their spot in the gold medal game of the FIBA AmeriCup 2022 as they overcame a late comeback from Canada and secured the 84-76 win in front of their home crowd at Geraldão Arena.
Brasil 🇧🇷 consigue en 🏠 su boleto 🎟 a la Final de la AmeriCup, al vencer a Canadá 🇨🇦 en Semifinales👏💪@leomeindl23 19PTS🔥#LucasDias 14PTS🔥#VitorBenite 13PTS 🔥#LucasMariano 13PTS 🔥#AmeriCup pic.twitter.com/ygbO7hO7Iv— FIBA AmeriCup (@AmeriCup) September 11, 2022
The home team had another point to prove being one win away from a guaranteed podium finish, and despite the lead changing nine times over the course of the first quarter, Brazil came out on top with a four-point lead over Canada, getting the edge 24-20.
Vitor Benite had a massive first quarter for Brazil, scoring 11 points in just eight minutes of play while Leonardo Meindl added 5 points while usual star for Brazil Yago Santos was held scoreless.
Canada struggle to find the rim themselves to start the quarter, scoring on just 31.25 percent of their shots as Abu Kigab was the team’s leading scorer with 5 points while Canada’s own scoring machines of Jahvon Henry-Blair and Dalano Banton were held to a combined 7 points.
By halftime Brazil led by 10 points as both Benite and Meindl were double digit scorers while Cristiano Felicio added 7 points, and Kadre Gray stepped up for Canada adding 6 points by shooting 75 percent from the foul line.
Lucas Mariano and Lucas Dias were the next two in line to be the offensive force that Brazil needed to capture the game, each scoring six points in the third quarter, while Santos tipped in 7 and finally found his explosive scoring to put Brazil ahead by 13 to enter the final 10 minutes.
But if Canada had shown anything through the competition, elimination game or not, it’s that they are not the country to be counting out, especially when it comes to their young talent.
They forced turnovers, grabbed 9 steals and held Brazil to just 30.56 percent shooting from beyond the arc in the game, and while their size couldn’t match up to what Brazil could in the paint or on the boards, they had one advantage of having versatile playmakers who could score.
An 8-0 run by Canada brought them within 5 points in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter, thanks to 5 points from Henry-Blair and another added triple from Banton as Canada was shooting 44.44 percent from beyond the arc.
Another run, this time a 14-2 scoring drive by Canada with just over three minutes to play gave them the lead once again, this time leading 76-74, as Henry-Blair was up to a whopping 24 points for Canada shooting 80 percent from the field.
But seeing how Canada had an explosive run of their own, Brazil decided to take back the power and not only play suffocating defense to force Canada to make bad turnovers and foul to send Brazil to the line, but they kept their composure while Canada imploded.
On their way to the final buzzer Brazil finished on a 12-0 run as Canada failed to score a basket in the last three minutes of the game while Meindl, Dias, Marcelinho Huertas and Didi Louzada played with passion to the final whistle to save the win and play for gold against Argentina.
Four different Brazil players scored 13 or more points as Meindl led all scorers with 19 points, Dias added 14 and Benite and Mariano both added 13. Dias also added 8 rebounds while Huertas added 8 assists.
Santos finished the night with 9 points shooting just four shots from the floor, while Felicio’s 7 points and 7 rebounds were added attack for Brazil to control the game against a feisty Canada team.
Henry-Blair led all scorers with his 24 points including four 3-pointers, while Banton added 12 points despite an off night on his shooting, making just 25 percent of his shots.
Kigab rounded out Canada’s scoring as the only other player in double digits with 10 points. Trae Bell-Haynes also added 6 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists in the loss.