After opening the FIBA U-19 championships with a disappointing loss to Australia, it appeared that Canada was on track for another battle, as they were only able to open up a 37-31 lead over Syria at the half. However, the Canadaian team that many fans had expected finally emerged in the second half, as Team Canada outscored Syria 62-22 in the second half, and emerged with a 99-53 win. With the game secured midway through the 3rd quarter, Canada was able to use its bench, as every member of the team saw at least nine minutes of action. Due to the nature of the victory, Mangisto Arop and Kelly Olynyk saw a reduction in their minutes, and neither was forced to put together a dominate performance. With that said, here is the stat line for both Manny and Kelly:
Mangisto Arop: 11 points (4/7; 0/1) and 4 rebounds
Kelly Olynyk: 10 points (2/5; 1/3) and 8 reboundsFor the second consecutive game, Manny was incredibly productive when he was on the court. Because of the large lead that Canada was able to open in the third quarter, Mangisto only played 16 minutes, and was able to rest his knee for the upcoming game against Spain. With that said, Manny was still able to score 11 points in only 16 minutes, and again shot the ball well from the field, as he hit 4/7 from inside the 3 point line. Equally important, Manny hit 3/3 of free throws, and is now 9/11 from the free throw line in the tournament. This is definitely an important trait to his game, as Manny will live at the free throw line when he gets to Gonzaga. With his ability to get into the paint and attack the rim, I can imagine Manny getting 6-8 points a game from the free throw line.
As I expected, Kelly played much better tonight then he did in the opener against Australia. In 22 minutes of action, Kelly scored 10 points, and was strong on the glass with eight rebounds. I don't take much stock in this performance, because it came against a much weaker team in Syria. If we are going to expect any sort of production from Kelly next year at Gonzaga, it's important that he begins to score and rebound at a high level against some of the top teams in the tournament.
Canada returns to the court tomorrow night at 10:00 PM when they take on Spain. This game will be a huge test for the Canadians, and a victory would guarantee them a spot in the final 8. We will continue to provide coverage of this tournament, and hopefully Kelly and Manny can carry Canada to the next round.