Australia thumps Canadian men in Commonwealth Games basketball opener

Calgary Dinos' Mambi Diawara, centre, lays up the winning shot in the last seconds of the gold medal game against the Ryerson Rams during the U Sports men's basketball national championship in Halifax on Sunday, March 11, 2018. Canada had a rough start to the Commonwealth Games men's basketball competition Friday, losing 95-55 to powerful Australia. Diawara, with 10 points, was the only Canadian to reach double figures. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

CAIRNS, Australia - Canada had a rough start to the Commonwealth Games men's basketball competition Friday, losing 95-55 to a more experienced Australia side.

Canada is fielding a young team comprised entirely of U Sports athletes. The Australians are missing their NBA talent and many European players but do have domestic pros.

University of Calgary guard Mambi Diawara, with 10 points, was the only Canadian to reach double figures.

Daniel Kickert, a guard who has played professionally in Australia, Italy, Spain, Poland and Ukraine, led the Boomers with 14 points. Four others scored in double figures with Brad Newley, a former Houston Rockets draft pick who plays in Spain, adding 12 points.

The Canadians were 5-of-24 from three-point range and went to the free throw line just four times.

Canada plays Nigeria on Saturday.

Basketball has been played just once before at the Commonwealth Games, in 2006 when the Australian men won gold.


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