Photo Credits: Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press
After coming off a dramatic 97-91 victory versus Greece, Team Canada entered their back-to-back closer against Team China with a goal on their mind — clinching a spot in the semis.
Team Canada rolled out their usual suspects to open the contest leaving Lu Dort to play of the bench as Nick Nurse rolled out R.J. Barrett and Andrew Wiggins at both wing positions.
The contest saw little divide in the opening frame as Canada reaped the benefits of a 5-of-12 opening from downtown. However, China entrusted former Rocket Zhou Qi as the big man steamed out eight points also solely off of second chance opportunities. Through one, Canada found themselves up 27-19.
Canada’s marksmanship snowballed into the second quarter rather seamlessly — on the flipside, China needed some time to find any rhythm. The Canadians rallied out a quick 14-7 run to hoist a 15-point advantage five minutes in, and the lead didn’t crack. At their highest point, Team Canada led 20 points in the half, but after a 7-0 stretch by China, they led 59-46 at half.
The first half transformed into a three-point contest midway into the second as Canada added upon their first quarter totals to barrage a 11-of-24 statement from downtown while China shot 5-of-15 beyond the arch.
Canada walled off China by a double-digit margin throughout the third quarter, but a quick spark from Oklahoma City’s own helped set the tone. Following a missed Nickeil Alexander-Walker right corner three, Dort snuck in from the foul line to hammer home a putback jam for team Canada. That dunk put themselves up to their highest margin of the game, 21 points with the game at 77-56. Just as the second quarter panned out though, China spewed off a 9-2 closing run to hit the fourth down 79-65.
Team Canada dispelled any comeback hopes rather quickly in the fourth with an 11-2 opening run to gash the lead to 23. China never caught a second win, tallying a mere 14 points in the quarter to Canada’s 30. Canada wins 109-79.
Andrew Wiggins led Team Canada in scoring for the second-consecutive game with 25 points while Dwight Powell mingled with a double-double off 22 points and 9 rebounds. The three ball became a staple throughout the roster as they shot 19-of-40 (47.5-percent) as a collective outside.
Lu Dort turned the page on his shaky offensive debut with a double-digit night racking up 13 points (4-of-8 FG), 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal. Dort’s triple looked more in sync to his usual as he shot 3-of-6 from distance.
With the win, Team Canada (2-0) has now secured themselves the top seed in Group A, and a ticket to Saturday’s semifinals. They will face the second seed out of Group B which will includes Turkey, Uruguay, and the Czech Republic.