Nothing else matters any more to Canada in these World University Games. The only thing the Canadians ever really wanted was to beat the United States in basketball.
And that happened tonight, as the Canadians shamed the U.S. defense with patience and fast breaking, inside strength and outside shooting. The result was a 85-77 victory for Canada's men before 12,000 fans in the Universiade Pavilion.
Canada now advances to Saturday night's final for the gold medal against Yugoslavia, which beat Cuba tonight, 110-92. The previously undefeated United States plays Cuba for the bronze.
With 24 seconds left, and the outcome no longer in doubt, this city celebrated.
Canada was led by guard Jay Triano, who scored 24 points in the first half, 28 for the game. Eric Turner, the flashy guard from Michigan, led the United States with 20 points and some spectacular assists, but he had little help.
The Canadians moved to a big lead on the strength of two players--one of them a bench-warmer for a school in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Triano's scoring six of Canada's first eight points was not much of a surprise. Several years ago, he was a standout guard for Simon Fraser in Vancouver. But what happened next had to be a shock to the players from the United States.
Danny Meagher, a 6-foot-8 forward who averages about six points a month at Duke University, scored six quick points to put Canada ahead, 12-6. Triano and Meagher scored 26 of Canada's first 28 points.
Meagher made a 15-foot jumper from the top that put Canada ahead, 24-10, and caused U.S. guard Johnny Dawkins, Meagher's teammate at Duke, to do a double-take. When the Americans finally got hip to Meagher, they lost track of Triano, who scored six straight points to increase Canada's lead to 34-27.
The only thing that kept the U.S. from a double-digit deficit was the play of guards Turner and Dawkins.