FIBA Men’s World Championship: Canada beats Panama in qualifiers


Canada’s men’s basketball team remains unbeaten in World Cup qualifiers with a 106-50 win over Panama on Monday.

Detroit Pistons forward Kelly Olynyk scored 18 points while Kevin Pangos added 17 and the Canadians, the only undefeated team in the Americas Zone, improved to 8-0 and secured their place at the 2023 FIBA ​​World Championship that well how secured.

Melvin Ejim added 15 points, Zach Edey with 15 points and seven rebounds, and Kassius Robertson with 11 points.

Jhivvan Jameel Jackson Melendez had 16 points to lead the Panamanians.

Canada moved one step closer to qualifying on Monday thanks to Venezuela’s 76-72 win over the Dominican Republic earlier in the night. The Canadians then had to beat both Panama and the Bahamas to upset Argentina in the late game. While beating Panama, the Bahamas couldn’t beat Argentina, losing 95-77.

The Canadians beat Argentina 99-87 in their toughest qualifying test to date in Victoria on Thursday.

They established their dominance early Monday, racing out to a 16-0 lead before Panama finally got on the scoreboard at 5:56 to play in the first quarter. Canada’s stifling defense held Panama in 3-for-16 shooting and forced five turnovers. The Canadians took the lead 33:7.

In FIBA ​​tiebreaks, the point difference counts, and so Canada didn’t let up in the second quarter. Pangos’ three-pointer 50 seconds before the break gave the Canadians a 42-point lead.

Edward Lopez’s buzzer-beater from across the halffield gave the Panamanian fans at the Roberto Duran Arena some cheering and cut Canada’s lead to 64-25 at halftime.

The Canadians continued to extend their lead and were up 92:36 with a quarter to go.

Coach Nick Nurse was able to sit deep on his bench for most of the second half as young players like 20-year-old Edey, a 7ft-4 forward for Purdue, were given crucial playing time.

The Canadians dominated across the board, forcing 20 Panama turnovers. They overtook the home team 50-34, shooting 56.7 percent from the field to Panama’s 34.1 percent.

Canada was without three NBA players Monday: Oklahoma City guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who was Canada’s top player in the three games he played this summer, Utah Jazz guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Detroit Pistons guard Cory Joseph. Trae Bell-Haynes, Abu Kigab and Jean-Victory Mukama replaced them.

Monday’s game was the last time Nurse had NBA players available as the final two qualifying windows come in the middle of the NBA season on November 7-15, 2022 and February 20-28, 2023. Nurse probably won. Also don’t train in those windows as he will be busy with the Toronto Raptors.

The top three finishers from Groups E and F and the best 4th place finisher will compete in the 32-team FIBA ​​World Cup 2023 from August 25 to September 10, 2023 in the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia.

The World Cup is a direct qualifier for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Four final Olympic spots will also be decided in last-chance qualifiers, something Canada are hoping to avoid after the team’s heartbreaking elimination against the Czech Republic in a 2021 last-chance qualifier in Victoria.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on August 29, 2022.