Follow the World Cup on Facebook
Canada took Dominican Republic by storm in the last quarter and moved up to Group D’s first place
TORONTO (FIBA Basketball World Cup Americas Qualifiers 2019) — Canada came back home with new faces, and how!
The Canadian National Team left a pleasant impression in front of their public after widely overpowering, 97-61, the Dominican Republic in the game that took place at Toronto’s Ricoh Coliseum, as part of the Group D of the World Cup Americas Qualifiers China 2019.
For 30 minutes, the Dominican Republic battled a Canadian team that was reinforced for the third qualifying window, but in the final quarter, the locals left visitors short-breathed.
With this victory, Canada leveled with Dominicana for the first game in Group D, with 4-1. However, the Canadians take the first spot, for the moment, thanks to the difference in points. Canada revenged their loss in Dominican soil, 99-89, in the first window that took place on November. Both teams, alongside the US Virgin Islands have already secured their tickets for the November window.
Next Monday, Canada will welcome Virgin Islands (2-3) at Ottawa, while the Dominican Republic will do the same with Bahamas (0-5) in Santo Domingo.
In his first official game with the Senior Men's Team, the main Canadian prospect, R.J. Barrett, did not leave anything behind —scoring 14 points and six rebounds. Just like the 18-year old, Dillon Brooks, Melvin Ejim and Kelly Olynyk achieved 14 points each, while Corey Joseph and Dwight Powell contributed 11. Olynyk recovered nine rebounds and Powell seven; Joseph, meanwhile, aided in eight assists. Canada showcased their teamwork with 27 assists —the Dominicans only did 13.
As for the Dominican Republic, Rigoberto Mendoza was the only one with double digits —with 11 points— and recovered eight rebounds.
Canada were the leading voice in the first 30 minutes, but Dominicana was close behind. The Canadians came on strong to the last quarter and led by 3-pointers by Phil Scrubb and Melvin Ejim, they marked an even stronger lead, 74-57, with 7:45 left to play.
The North Americans didn't let their guards down, and with a dunk by Brooks and another by Olynyk, they frustrated the Dominican Republic's intentions, 85-58, with 4:05 left on the clock. The rest of the game was just a transaction.
Canada’s quick game was felt from the start. With an assistance by Olynyk, Joseph scored a double that marked the difference for the locals, 14-7, in the first six minutes. The Dominicans reacted with a 7-2 advance that ended with two free throws by Eloy Vargas.
Canada started to rotate the bench and held on to the control, 25-21, by the end of the period.
In the following 10 minutes, the Canadians continued strong and distanced 32-21. Olynyk portrayed himself as an active defense by stealing two bolls in consecutive possessions that then ended as dunks —first by Khem Birch and then by R.J. Barrett. As a matter of fact, Barret did not seam as an 18-year old rookie in this National Team. The newbie showed why he’s a hope for Canada when in a play he received a block by Santana but kept the rebound and scored a double that gave a double-digit advantage to his side, 40-29 —and the crowd went wild.
Barret finished the first half with nine points and five rebounds. Canada left for the locker rooms with the lead, 45-33.
Canada didn’t give too much options to the Dominicans in the beginning of the second half. The local advantage increased to 17, 56-39, with a two-pointer by Powell.
The Dominicans stayed in the game and with consecutive 3-pointers by Adris de León and Dagoberto Peña, they closed the gap, 58-51, with 1:56 left to play.
In the last play of the quarter, Barrett entered through the left side and ended with an uncomfortable shot that brought back Canada’s double-digit advantage, 65-54.