OTTAWA – Veteran Pat Anderson sunk 26 points and led Canada to an upset 67-55 victory over the U.S. on Friday morning at the Ottawa Invitational men’s wheelchair basketball tournament at Carleton University.
With the win, the Canadians improved their record to 2-0 in the tournament, a warm-up event for the IWBF World Championships set for June 9-20 in Dubai. The Americans, with several star players from their 2020 Games winning squad in Tokyo, were playing their first match of the tournament.
Anderson, 43, a three time-Paralympic Games champion, showed no effects from a wrist injury which sidelined him last summer. The double leg amputee from Fergus, Ont., was on the floor for 34 of the 40 minutes and added 12 rebounds, including 11 in the defensive zone and seven assists.
‘’I’m healthy and feeling pretty good for my age,’’ said Anderson, regarded as the best to ever play the game. ‘’The timeline has been a challenge since COVID with the world’s being delayed and the schedule a bit wonky.’’
Canada led 19-13 after the first quarter, 37-32 at the half then really pulled away limiting the Americans to a mere 23 points in the second half.
Lee Melymick of Toronto and Collin Higgins of Rothesay, N.B., added 13 points each and national team rookie Reed De’aeth of Calgary had 12.
The victory is a huge confidence boost for Canada which is currently in a rebuilding mode after finishing eighth at Tokyo 2020.
‘’The reason I keep playing is I get a kick out of playing with these younger guys and I still feel I have something to contribute to, to the success of the team,’’ added Anderson, headed to his fifth worlds.
Steve Serio, the Americans star scorer, replied with 13 to lead the U.S, and Jacob Williams had 12. They were two of the seven players on the U.S. team here from the Tokyo 2020 squad.
The three-country tournament continues Saturday for Canada with two games. At 9 a.m. (ET) vs the Netherlands and at 1:30 p.m. there is a rematch against the Americans. Canada edged the Dutch 57-56 on Thursday.
The first-place team gets a bye to the final while the other two face-off Sunday morning in the semi at 9 a.m. and the final at noon.
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