Nik Goncin scored 30 points and added double figures in rebound and assists but it still wasn’t enough to keep Canada from falling 77-73 to Turkey in overtime on Friday at the Paralympics.
The loss drops the men’s wheelchair basketball team with key games left against Japan, Columbia, and South Korea.
Turkey was led by their captain Ozgur Gurbulak, who tallied 28 points and 13 assists. Ugur Toprak added 17 points, while Ismail Ar netted 13.
In a game that saw both teams give up seven-point margins and featured 12 lead changes, Turkey was able to net six free throws in overtime to cushion their lead while putting Canada’s top players were in foul trouble.
After being outscored by nine points in the final frame, the Canadians needed Goncin to tally one of his four three pointers and add a layup with nine seconds remaining to force overtime.
While Goncin dominated the stat sheet (including 15 boards and 11 helpers), Patrick Anderson also found his shooting touch after a slow start, erupting for 14 of his 24 points in the third quarter. The three-time Paralympic gold medallist also registered a game high 22 rebounds.
When asked about his performance, the star admitted he has started slow.
“I’m still finding my rhythm,” said Anderson. “I had zero rhythm in the first half, and then I found it there in the third.”
Outside of the two Canadian stars, six players combined for just 16 points, which allowed the Turkish defence to key in on both Goncin and Anderson down the stretch. Even with the extra attention, both kept their team alive making one contested bucket after another.
Despite the loss, Canada shot much better than their opening match, shooting 43 per cent from the field, but the points off of turnovers would be the difference in this match as Turkey outscored the Canadians 14-5 on the night.
With the loss, Canada moves to 0-2 in Group A, keeping them out of the top four qualifying spots. Their next match will be against the host nation, Japan, Saturday at 1:45 a.m. EST.