It’s all going according to plan for Canada at the 2020 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Victoria, British Columbia.
A night after earning a hard-fought victory over Greece, Team Canada showcased their superior depth and overall talent in the 109-79 lopsided victory over a young Chinese squad set to miss its first Olympics’ basketball tournament since 1984.
Unselfish and an egoless mindset are the ultimate trademarks of a winning basketball team, using crisp passing and fluid ball movement, Canada racked-up thirty (30) assists on 36 made field-goal attempts, buried 17-of-43 three-pointers and out-rebounded China 55-37, including 20 offensive rebounds in the 30-point victory.
Playing his role to perfection, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Luguentz Dort helped Canada turned up pressure in the late stages of the first-quarter as Canada broken open a 17-17 game with 10-2 run and took a 27-19 lead over China in the opening quarter. The Canadians increased the advantage to 59-46 at half-time and put in cruise control, outscoring the Chinese team 50-33 in the second-half.
“I feel like everybody gotta accept their role, you know, there’s a lot of good talent on our team not everybody is going to take all the shots, so we just got to be able to play as a team, play together and make the right plays and everybody has to go to stick to their roles.” Luguentz Dort – Team Canada
Golden State Warriors guard Andrew Wiggins’ game-high twenty (20) points on 5-of-9 shooting, 3-of-7 three pointers and a perfect 7-of-7 from the foul-line paced seven Canadian players in double figures. Wiggins also helped out with four (4) rebounds, three (3) steals and two (2) assists.
RJ Barrett also had it going on for the second straight game, adding sixteen (16) points, five (5) assists and three (3) rebounds. Andrew Nicholson, a former first-round selection of the Orlando Magic who has called China home for the past four (4) seasons also proved too much for the Chinese to handle, finishing with fourteen (14) points and seven (7) rebounds.
Dwight Powell helped Canada out muscled China on both ends, finishing with a near double-double of twelve (12) points, a game-high nine (9) rebounds and also dished out three (3) assists in the process.
“We got a lot of young talent, we got a lot of energy, you know we just gotta outwork teams, out scrap them and just continue to play at a fast pace.” Andrew Nicholson – Team Canada
Playing for Canada for the first-time since the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championships in Prague, Czech Republic, Trey Lyles knows just how important this moment is for the country.
Lyles and two other Canadian players scored eleven (11) points each, with the former Kentucky Wildcats showing flashes of his old self, by adding seven (7) rebounds and two (2) assists. Nickeil Alexander-Walker also chipped in with eight (8) rebounds and five assists in 27 minutes off the bench. Luguentz Dort continued to cause havoc for opposing guards with 3 rebounds, 3 assists and one steal.
“To potentially make the Olympics is big time, you know the country hasn’t seen it in a long-time, so we have a lot on the line when it comes to this.”Trey Lyles – Team Canada
With the victory, Canada (2-0) clinched the top spot in Group A and will now face the winner of the Group B match-up between the Czech Republic and Uruguay in a single elimination game.