R.J. Barrett. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

© Copyright – 2018 – Victoria Sports News

Team Canada hosted Team China in game two of their two-game Pacific Rim Basketball Classic tournament at Save on Foods Memorial Centre Sunday night and handily won by the score of 108-72. They won Friday night in Vancouver by the score of 97-62.

China didn’t like the physical play of the Canadians and twice came close to blows. At one point, the Chinese bench got up and were prepared to get involved with the players on the floor.

“We come here to learn to play better basketball because there are NBA players on Team Canada, not to come to learn to do boxing,” said a frustrated Head Coach Feng Du.

Du was unhappy with his team’s play and could be seen yelling at them from the sidelines with quite a bit of emotion. Friday, he was ejected from the game. Sunday, they got down by the score of 49-25 at the half.

“Well they have a lot of pride. Any time that you play a team two games in a row the emotions get up, we had a physical game Friday and we had another physical one here tonight,” said Head Coach Jay Triano. “Any time you beat them one night, they are going to come back with energy the next game and that is what happened tonight.”

Head Coach Feng Du. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

For Canada, the golden age of basketball may be on the horizon as two of the most promising players are still teenagers in R.J. Barrett and Andrew Nembhard, from Southern Ontario, who both currently attend Montverde Academy in Florida, a preparatory school with a focus on sports.

Canada played a defensive game early against China, limiting their chances while drawing multiple fouls.  Canada open with a 12-2 run and led 22-4 after the first quarter. Dillon Brooks saw the ball often in the first 10 minutes and led Canada with seven points during the first quarter.

During the first half of the game, Barrett picked up 15 of his 21 points, 12 in the second quarter. He also earned 5 assists and picked off 3 rebounds. Nembhard had 18 points and 3 assists. It was clear that the two have a chemistry working together. The play of the game was a seeing-eye dish from Nembhard that found a streaking Barrett, who finished with a spectacular dunk that caused some loud cheers from the near 5,000 in attendance.

Dwight Powell (14) thoroughly impressed with Barrett’s dunk. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

“Well we have been playing together since we were in Grade 6, so I know what he is going to do before he does it,” shared Nembhard.

Barrett concurred, “We have played together since before Grade 7 and we know exactly where each other are going to be at any time during the game,”

Dwight Powell led the first half in rebounds with 14 and collected 8 points.

Team Canada will now resume the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Americas qualifying games, facing Dominican Republic on June 29th at Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto, followed by the U.S Virgin Islands on July 2nd at The Arena at TD Place in Ottawa (Tickets).

Ref challenged by the Chinese players who were wearing their frustration on the chest. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall