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DAUGAVPILS — Caleb Houstan and Ryan Nembhard scored 18 points apiece Saturday to lift Canada to an 80-71 win over Lithuania to open the FIBA U19 World Cup.
Zach Edey added 12 points and 16 rebounds, while Elijah Fisher finished with 11 points.
Lithuania led for much of the game and was up by 10 at halftime. A steal and dunk by Fisher that sliced Lithuania's lead to six sparked a momentum shift and the Canadians outscored their opponent 29-16 in the fourth quarter for their first win ever over Lithuania in U19 action.
"This was the perfect first game for us," coach Paul Weir said. "We were challenged by a great opponent in Lithuania and it tested our team in many ways. To fight back and earn this victory is a great testament to a terrific group of players and staff I feel blessed to be leading right now."
Edey and Fisher were excellent off the bench in their national team debuts.
"We got a lot of guys who came off the bench and contributed, and I think that's a good testament to our team, (the ability) to push through against a real good team, we were down most of the game and came out with the win," Houstan said.
The No. 2-ranked Canadians next face Japan in Group A action on Sunday, then Senegal on Tuesday.
Canada won the U19 World Cup in 2017 in Cairo, the first FIBA world title for Canadian basketball.
The tournament has four groups with four countries in each. All teams qualify for the round of 16, where they will cross between Groups A and B and C and D. The winners of the round-of-16 games advance to the quarterfinals, while the losers move on to the classification games for Places 9 through 16.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 3, 2021.
The Canadian Press