Mamadou Gueye - Courtesy: Commonwealth Games
GOLD COAST, Australia - Canada's men's Commonwealth Games team defeated New Zealand 88-86 in the semifinals on Saturday afternoon to advance to the gold medal game at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Ammanuel Diressa led Canada with 22 points, while Conor Morgan added 19 points of his own in the win. Munis Tutu finished with 17 points and a team-high six assists.
Leading 45-42 at halftime, Canada poured it on in the third quarter, outscoring New Zealand 30-16 to carry a 75-58 advantage into the final frame.
However, the Tall Blacks wouldn't go quietly. Thanks in large part to a 10-0 run and stingy defence, New Zealand took the lead 85-83 with just over a minute to play in the fourth quarter. After a Diressa layup evened the score once again, New Zealand's Shea Ili, who had not missed a free throw all week, split a pair giving Canada one final chance with 5.1 seconds to play.
Coming out of a timeout, Justus Alleyn found Mamadou Gueye
who buried a three pointer as time expired to give Canada the historic victory.
With the win, Canada is now guaranteed their first medal in men's basketball at the Commonwealth Games. Basketball has only been on the Commonwealth Games program once, at Melbourne 2006 (Canada did not enter teams in the tournament).
A total of six CW men’s players are on the Canadian roster. All 12 of the players on the men’s team are U SPORTS players, with Canada West’s six players leading the way among U SPORTS’ four conferences (5 OUA and 1 AUS).
Along with Alleyn (Manitoba) and Gueye (Alberta), Mambi Diawara (Calgary), David Kapinga (Calgary), Conor Morgan (UBC), and Grant Shephard (UBC) are on the squad. Manitoba head coach Kirby Schepp is the head coach, and is joined by UBC head coach Kevin Hanson, who is an assistant coach on the staff.
Alleyn led CW in scoring this past season with 24.1 points per game, while Morgan was named CW Player of the Year, and Shephard took home the CW Rookie of the Year award. Meanwhile, Diawara, and Kapinga are coming off Calgary’s first men’s basketball national title in program history.
Gueye was a CW second team all-star for Alberta, who topped the conference regular season with a 19-1 record, but fell to Calgary in the CW Championship Game earlier this month.
Canada will now face hosts Australia on Sunday, April 15 at 11:30 (Saturday 9:30 PM ET) in gold medal game. The game will be streamed on DAZN. Click here for the complete tournament schedule.