SHENZHEN, China (CIS) - Canada's men's basketball team continues to be the darling of the Summer Universiade and on Thursday the Canucks secured first place in Group B and a spot in the quarter-finals with an 83-50 drubbing of Hong Kong (0-4).
The Canadians (3-1), who will face Romania (3-2) Saturday night in their first match-up of the medal round, got some help earlier in the day when Turkey (2-2) beat Australia (2-2), vaulting Canada ahead of both the Aussies and defending Universiade champion Serbia (3-1) in their pool by virtue of a 70-67 head-to-head win over the Serbians.
"Winning the pool was a goal of ours when we began the tournament, so obviously we are quite happy with the win," said Team Canada head coach Kevin Hanson. "[Thursday] was a good opportunity to get everyone into the game, we were able to share the workload. At this stage of the tournament, bodies are starting to break down and getting any rest is a good thing."
Warren Ward of London, Ont., continues to find his name at the top of the scoresheet for Canada at this tournament, leading the way with a game-high 17 points. Five Canadians reached double figures, while the Canucks out rebounded Hong Kong 59-to-37 and forced 30 turnovers.
Canada competed in a pair of quarter-finals in team sports on Thursday.
In women's water polo, the Canadians were eliminated from medal contention following a 9-7 loss to Russia (4-1). Joannie Morisseau of Montreal led the way in a losing cause with a hat trick, while Monika Eggens of Pitt Meadows, B.C., scored twice to up her team-leading total to 14 goals in four games. Canada (0-3-1) moves to the consolation side of the draw and will now play for positions fifth to eighth, starting Friday against Mexico (1-3-1).
The women's basketball squad (2-2) suffered the same fate, dropping a 79-44 decision to 2007 Universiade champion Australia (4-0). The Canadians fell behind early, trailing 25-14 after the opening quarter, and could never recover. Kendel Ross was one of the few bright spots in the loss with 15 points. Canada's first consolation match is set for Friday against Finland (2-2).
In athletics, four Canadians competed in three finals, but unfortunately for the Canucks they all came just shy of winning Canada's first track and field medal.
In the women's 400m, Calgary's Amonn Nelson and Jenna Martin of Bridgewater, N.S., finished fifth and sixth respectively with times of 52.98 and 53.11. In the women's 800m, Helen Crofts of West Vancouver, B.C., got out of the gate with a fast start, but fell back on the second lap, running two seconds off her semifinal time to finish in sixth with a mark of 2:04.40.
Toronto's Mark Dillon was in action in the high jump final and finished in ninth spot after failing to clear 2.20m. Dillon had needed only one attempt at 2.10m, 2.15m and 2.18m in the lead-up, but hit the wall at 2.20m.
Vancouver's Inaki Gomez completed the 20km race walk in a time of 1:26.21 to finish fifth overall, while teammate Evan Dunfee of Richmond, B.C., was 14th with a mark of 1:29.13.
In the decathlon, Chris Crossley of Moosomin, Sask., totaled 6920 points, to finish the meet in 14th position.
A name to keep an eye on when competition resumes on Friday will be Ottawa's Oluwasegun Makinde, who won his 200m second round heat with a new personal best time of 20.72, breaking his previous personal best of 20.90 set in the opening round. Makinde's time was the fastest in any second round heat.
Jason Wurster of Stevensville, Ont., qualified for the pole vault final, while Montreal's Kimberly Hyacinthe, in the 200m, and Marie-Ève Dugas of Laval, Que., and Edmonton's Christie Gordon, in the women's 100m hurdles, advanced to semifinals.
Canada also competed in three finals in swimming.
After qualifying fourth in the morning with a preliminary time of 4:08.68, the women's 4x100 medley relay of Hilary Caldwell of London, Ont., Tera van Beilen of Oakville, Ont., Caroline Kuczynski of Montreal and Sandrine Mainville of Boucherville, Que., dropped to sixth in the final after touching the wall in 4:08.19.
Mackenzie Downing of Whitehorse, Yukon, who carried the Canadian flag in last week's opening ceremonies, was ranked eighth going into the 200 butterfly final where she couldn't make up ground, finishing in 2:12.98. In the time final of the 1500 freestyle, Zsofia Balazs of Toronto touched wall in 17:01.48, good for 15th position, while Heather Maitland of Toronto followed two spots behind in 17:10.94.
In tennis, Phil Anderson of Halifax and Christiaan Lee-Daigle of Tecumseh, Ont., lost to David Estruch and Pablo Manuel Gimenez of Spain 4-6, 7-6, 6-4 in the quarter-finals of the men's doubles tournament. The loss was especially heartbreaking considering the Canadians would have secured a podium-finish with a win, as bronze medals are automatically awarded to the losers of the semi-finals.
In other Canadian tennis action, on the consolation side of the men's singles draw, Carl Ho from Richmond, B.C., won 6-4, 6-4 over Ivan Anikanov of the Ukraine to advance to Friday's semifinals.
In golf, Mark Hoffman of Thornhill, Ont., shot a two-under second round of 70 to move up to 17th place in the men's standings and into the spot of top Canadian. Hoffman is even par heading into Friday's third round, eight shots behind Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, who leads by one at the midway mark.
On the women's side, Anne Balser of Digby, N.S., is the top Canuck and is now tied for 28th at nine-over following a second round of 76. Taiwan's Hsuanyu Yao is at the front of the pack at six-under.
In table tennis, Montreal's twin duo of Sara and Stephanie Yuen was eliminated in women's doubles in the round of 32 by Japan 3-0 (11-3, 11-4, 11-6). The men's doubles pair of Pierre-Luc Hinse of Gatineau, Que., and Montreal's Peng Guo were downed in the round of 32, also by Japan, 3-0 (11-8, 11-1, 11-4), while Charlottetown's Todd Gregory and Ling Kun Yang of Laval, Que., were also eliminated in the round of 32 by the United States 3-1 (12-10, 11-8, 4-11, 12-10).
In sport shooting, Joshua Akow of Ajax, Ont., and Stephen Inchley of London, Ont., finished tied for 63rd in the men's 10m air rifle with identical total scores of 562-17, while Gavin Neil of Grande Prairie, Alta., was 66th with a mark of 537-16.
In women's volleyball, Canada (2-2) downed Sweden (0-4) in four sets of 25-17, 21-25, 25-22 and 25-23 in its first consolation match. Shanice Marcelle of Victoria and Krista Zubick of St. Albert, Alta., paced the winners with 12 kills apiece. The Canadians, who can still finish as high as ninth, get back on the court Friday against Italy (1-2).
In men's soccer, also on the consolation side of the draw, Canada (1-2-1) outscored Namibia (1-2-1) 5-4 on penalties to earn a 4-3 win. Robbie Murphy, in the 12th minute, Adrian Pena (40th) and Carl Haworth (67th) scored in regulation for the Canadians, who resume consolation play on Saturday against Malaysia (1-3).