Canada wrapped up the 2019 FIBA World Cup with a tough 82-76 loss to Germany to claim 21st-place and earn an automatic invitation to one of four, six team Olympic Qualifying tournaments in June 2020.
Playing in their fifth-game of the new 32-team World Cup format, the Canadians swung momentum to their side after Germany’s Paul Zipper was ejected from the contest for his second unsportsmanlike foul of the game. Using a 16-5 third-quarter run, Canada broke open a tight physical and low-scoring contest (36-36, 8:44) that featured eight ties and five lead changes.
The lead stretched to a game-high 11-points at 52-41 with 4:48 to play. Unfortunately, Canada couldn’t hang-on letting Germany right back in the game with their own 15-4 run to tie the deciding final affair at 56-56 with a quarter to play.
The Germans opened the final quarter on a 7-0 run, holding the Canadians scoreless for the first three-minutes to jump head 63-56. Canada rallied to tie the game on several occasions down the stretch — equalizing the score at 66-66 apiece on a step-back jumper from veteran Cory Joseph with 3:22 remaining — but was unable to get over the hump, as Germany made one last push to finish the tournament on a three-game winning streak.
Dennis Schroder nearly records historic triple-double
Germany’s NBA point guard Dennis Schroder shredded Canada’s defense — coming up one assist short of recording the first FIBA World Cup triple-double. The OKC Thunder guard recorded a game-highs across the board with 21 points, 10 rebounds, 9 assists, 3 steals. Maximilian Kleber had strong effort with 21 points, 4 rebounds. Robin Benzing chipped in with 12 points and 3 rebounds.
Germany nailed 24-of-58 (41.4%), 9-of-25 (36%) from three-pointers and 15-of-31 from free-throws. The Canadians managed to sink 27-of-78 (34.6%), 9-of-39 (23.1%) and 13-of-17 foul shots.
Kyle Wiltjer Canada’s Top Player
Kyle Wiltjer concluded a superb World Cup with 18 points and 5 rebounds. The Canadian sharper-shooter was the teams’ top-marksmen, averaging 16.4 points per game and 3 rebounds. Khem Birch also finished in double-figures with 15 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals. Cory Joseph 9 points, 6 assists, 2 rebounds. Melvin Ejim had an all-round effort with 9 points, 8 rebounds, 5 steals, 4 assists.
Canadian head coach Nick Nurse — under contract through the 2020 Olympic Games, and by now fully aware of the nuances and challenges that he and his staff will face fielding a competitive Olympic Qualify team — once again opted to give 19-year old point guard Andrew Nembhard significant minutes — hoping the experience will prove beneficial for the future of Canada’s point guard position.
The Florida Gators sophomore tailed 6 points, 4 assists and 1 steal in 17 minutes. Owen Klassen added 4 points, 7 rebounds.
Canada’s overall record at FIBA World Cups currently stands at 35 wins – 66 losses dating back to 1954. A sixth (6) place finish at the 1978 World Cup currently stands as Canada best finish — falling 99-88 to tournament hosts Philippines in a tightly contest semi-final in Manilla.
2020 Olympic Qualifying Tournament
Team Canada will shift its focus to the 2020 Olympic Qualifying Tournament — where it will be grouped into one of four tournaments featuring 6 teams.
Teams that have already qualified for the last-minute 2020 Olympic Qualifiers include a strong crop – Canada, Lithuania, Italy, Greece, Brazil, Russia, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Germany, New Zealand, Tunisia and Turkey.
They will be joined by the three lowest ranked teams from the 2019 FIBA World Cup quarter-finalists of Spain, Poland, Serbia, Czech Republic and France.
An additionally eight (8) from four different continents will be granted wild cards to the Olympic Qualifiers — bringing the total to 24 teams.
Based on current FIBA rankings, No. 7 Slovenia, No. 15. Latvia (Europe). No. 30 China, No. 31 Philippines (Asia), No. 14 Mexico, No. 34 Uruguay (Americas), No. 39 Angola and No. 37 Senegal (Africa) will certainly be heavily considered as the nation’s to be included in qualifiers.
FIBA is scheduled to release new rankings following the conclusion of the 2019 FIBA World Cup. Dates and locations are still pending.
2020 Tokyo Olympics Qualified Teams
The following teams have already qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics via the 2019 World Cup. Four more teams will awarded spots via winning one the four Olympic Qualifiers.
Two additional European teams will be awarded Olympic spots as best finishers at the 2019 World Cup. France, Spain, Serbia, Poland, Czech Republic all advanced to the Quarter-Finals – joining USA and Argentina as the two top remaining American teams. Australia rounds out the final 8 teams vying for the new Naismith Trophy.
2019 FIBA World Cup Final Standings
|15||?? Puerto Rico||3-2|
|16||?? Dominican Republic||3-2|
|19||?? New Zealand||3-2|
|29||?? Cote d’Ivoire||0-5|