Yesterday PJ Washington said that they had underestimated Germany, but tonight it appeared Team USA was not even close to prepared for the kind of match Canada brought.
From the first quarter Canada’s tough zone defense took the U.S. team by surprise. Cameron Reddish said it would tough to adjust to the different defense and slow pace. “Well it was a lot different for us,” Reddish said. “To get out and run thats where we really strive, so I mean overall it was difficult.”
The Canadian team was, as predicted, led by the No.1 prospect of the 2019 class, RJ Barrett. Today’s match reinforced his ability to make shots all over the floor. Even amid a tumble, Barrett showed great body control managing to get the ball into the basket, as he fell to the floor. Reddish was the first man put on Barrett in the first quarter, and he admitted he was caught off guard by the small forward’s skills.
“We didn’t really know he was a capable shooter like that. He got going and it’s hard to stop after you get going.”
The game was tied up 42-42 in the second quarter just before halftime, when Louis King fouled Barrett and set him up for three free throw shots. He, unsurprisingly, nailed all three, giving Canada the lead at the half. Coach Calipari still believed his team would turn things around after halftime.
“He was trying to give us life in the locker room. He was telling us we could still win this game. There’s a lot of time left and we believed it,” said Reddish, with a solemn face.
Things did not improve after the half, and the U.S team could not regain the lead they had grown accustomed to. Canada beat Team USA 99-87. Reddish said their opponents hit a lot of tough shots and that his team didn’t get a lot of the calls go their way, but overall they gave it their best.
Like all great losses, there is always a lesson to be learned. Reddish said after this game he thinks the key is to start strong, “We gotta fight from the beginning. We can’t be lackadaisical.”
Even though Team USA’s road to a championship is over, they still have to shake off tonight’s devastating loss and play against Spain tomorrow.
“We’re just gunna put it in the past and move on,” said Reddish with a half-hearted shrug, “I mean it’s just basketball, it happens, so we’re just gunna try and do our best and get the bronze tomorrow.”