As this was their first game of the tournament, according to Pierre, coming out getting a win immediately was a big boost mentally for Canada.
“[This win] gave us a lot of confidence,” Pierre said. “I know a lot of people were nervous going into the game because it was our first game of the world championships but now we’re looking forward to playing Croatia tomorrow.”
Bhullar, on the other hand, wasn’t too nervous and enjoyed the pressure-packed atmosphere.
“I’m used to [playing under pressure],” Bhullar said. “I know what to do and I’ll go out there and try to do my best. I’m not really intimidated or scared. I just want to go out there and play.”
Pierre and Bhullar were both very efficient from the floor, shooting a combined 53% from the field, leading a balanced Canadian attack that saw two others reach double digits in Julian Clarke (Toronto, Ont.) who had 17 and Justin Shaver (Ottawa, Ont.) who added 13, including 11 rebounds. Another pairing that finished with 9 points each were Kevin Pangos (Holland Landing, Ont.) and Junior Lomomba (Montreal, Que.).
Seonggon Moon and Seounghyun Lee led Korea with 23 and 25 points respectively.
Coming into the match, it was clear that Canada (1-0) had a size advantage over Korea (0-1), a team that does not have a single player over 6-foot-8, and it capitalized on this by getting the ball inside often resulting in a 70-34 points-in-the-paint advantage.
The only way Korea slowed down Canada’s presence inside was by fouling, a strategy that ended up putting the Koreans in the penalty very early in every quarter and was a key contributor to the 37 free throws that Canada attempted. In comparison, Korea only attempted six free throws, but shot 56% from the field, which allowed them to stay within six points at the end of the first three quarters.
However, in the fourth, Canada took control of the game, going on an 11-0 run with a little over seven minutes to play in the frame pumping the lead to 98-83. This cushion would prove to be more than enough as Canada would go largely uncontested for the remaining four minutes of the game.
The win moves Canada into a tie for first place of Group C with Croatia (1-0) after they defeated Lithuania (0-1) 88-75. Canada will play Croatia tomorrow at 8:30 pm local time (1:30 pm ET).