The Canadian Men’s National Wheelchair Basketball team opened their quest for gold at the 2020 Paralympic games with a tough 78-41 loss to Spain.
Canada’s efforts were led by Nikola Goncin, who collected 15 points, eight rebounds and three steals. Canadian great Patrick Anderson totalled eight points, six rebounds and three assists.
Spain exploded in the first quarter, scoring 23 points while holding Canada to 10. The Canadians wouldn’t be able to recover from the early 13-point deficit, and the scoring wouldn’t slow down from the Spaniards as they would extend their lead to 22 points entering the final quarter.
The Spanish win was headlined by Asier Garcia Pereiro, who collected 23 points, eight rebounds and nine assists. Manuel Lorenzo Diaz would also add 13 points, eight rebounds, two steals and two blocks to help the Spanish claim their first victory of the tournament.
Leading for just 12 seconds of play, the Canadians struggled to generate offence and control the ball in their loss to the 2016 silver medalists.
Connecting on just 16 of their 59 shot attempts, the Canadians shot 27 per cent from the field. In addition to their scoring woes, Canada was out rebounded 49-32 and allowed 14 the Spanish to collect 14 offensive rebounds.
Canada also had difficulty controlling the ball, giving up 19 turnovers. Spain was able to generate 22 points from the Canadian turnovers.
The Canadians will look to rebound from the difficult loss on Friday at Ariake Arena as Group A action continues with a matchup against Turkey.