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Canada beat Senegal scoop-up first World Cup win since 2002

With World Cup hopes already dashed and put on hold until 2023 — Canada turned it’s focus on earning a 2020 Olympic spot via the classification round by closing out the Group phase with a much needed 82-60 win over an improving Senegal — picking-up their first win of the tournament.

The win is Canada’s first World Cup victory since beating Venezuela 98-97 on September 3rd at the 2002 World Championships in Indianapolis to finish 2-3 after a 0-3 start. Canada went 0-5 at the 2010 World Cup — their last appearance since this years’ showcase.

Another slow start for Team Canada

Senegal got off to a great start burying two three-pointers to jump on top 8-3 and further extended the lead to 13 points at 22-9 with under a minute to go in the quarter on another made triple by Xane Dalmeida. Canada once again had a difficult time generating any offense — struggling with 5-of-20 shooting, 1-of-8 from downtown to trail 22-11 after the first-quarter.

Senegal stroked 8-of-14 shots, 3-of-5 three-pointers on six assisted baskets.

Canada’s defense settled in by limiting the Senegalese to single possessions, translating to a 12-4 run to get back in game at 26-23 on a made dunk my Khem Birch with 6:23 on the clock — forcing a Senegalese timeout. Back-to-back three pointers by Kevin Pangos and Brady Heslip put Canada ahead for good at 31-28 with 4:06 remaining and a slim 33-32 half-time lead provided the necessary mental fortitude to execute better in the second-half.

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Cory Joseph best game of World Cup

Cory Joseph Scores 24 Points Against Senegal
Cory Joseph scores a game-high 24 points against Senegal – Photo: FIBA

Cory Joseph scored 11 of his game-high 24 points in the first four minutes of the third-quarter as Canada opened-up a 50-42, lead taking control of the game by outscoring Senegal 28-14 in the in the middle frame for 59-46 edge with 10 minutes to play.

Canada limited Senegal just 28 second-half points, winning the final quarter 23-14 for the comfortable 22-point victory — one of their largest ever at a World Cup.

“Senegal is a good team, they are long, athletic. At the start we had to get used to their length, they played good defense. Second-half we just talked amongst each other and Nick, telling us to execute better and that’s what we did.” – verbalized Cory Joseph during post-game procedures.

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“Went out there played a better defense, and our defense transitioned our offense to easier  buckets.”

Kevin Pangos back on track

Kevin Pangos Canada Beat Senegal Scoop Up First World Cup Win Since 2002
Kevin Pangos blows past Senegal at 2019 FIBA World Cup – Photo: FIBA

Kevin Pangos bounced back from a tough outing against Lithuania with 13 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists. Melvin Ejim got the starting nod and contributed with his best game of the World Cup adding 11 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal. Khem Birch continued to showcase his all-around talent with another solid effort with 6 points, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks, 3 steals and 2 assists.

Canada flexed some muscle

Khem Birch Flexes After Big Dunk Over Senegal
Khem Birch flexes after big dunk over Senegal at 2019 FIBA World Cup in China – Photo: FIBA

Canada finally out-muscled an opponent – beating the athletic Senegalese 47-32 on the boards to the tone off a 22-8 offensive rebounding advantage and shared the ball with a higher rate with 20 assists on 28 made field-goals.

Team Canada knocked down 28-of-74 shots (38%) and buried a tournament best 12-of-36 (33%) triples.

Mouhammad Faye paced Senegal with 14 points, 3 rebounds, 12 of those in the first-half. Lamire Sambe 10 points and 5 assists. Xane Dalmeida added 7 points, 2 rebounds.

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Canada (1-2) finishes in third-place in the tough Group H and moves on to the 17-32 classification bracket where it will face Jordan and Germany in their next two upcoming games.

2020 Tokyo Olympic hopes still alive

Canada’s 2020 Tokyo Olympic hopes remain alive – and should they manage to get past both Jordan and Germany they will earn an automatically spot in one of four, six-team Olympic qualify tournaments next summer. Even, if it fails to secure a 17-23 finish in the classification side of the World Cup – Canada also stands in relatively solid grounds to potential earn a one of two wild sports to one of those Olympic qualifiers.

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