CANADA FACES DOMINICAN REPUBLIC TONIGHT AS AMERICAS QUALIFIERS CONTINUE, LIVE ON DAZN
SANTIAGO, Dominican Republic (November 27, 2017) - The Senior Men's National Team opened the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Americas Qualifiers with a decisive 93-69 victory over the Bahamas on Friday in Halifax, N.S.
Canada (1-0) will take on the Dominican Republic (1-0) tonight to conclude the first of six windows in the Qualifiers phase. Fans can catch all the action on DAZN with tipoff from Arena del Cibao Oscar Gobaira scheduled for 7:00 PM ET.
Dominican Republic enters Monday's contest coming off a solid 99-89 victory over the United States Virgin Islands. Click here for box score.
Powered by a balanced scoring attack, the Dominicans present several challenges to a defensive-minded Canada team.
Four players registered double figures for the Dominican Republic in its last game, including 6-foot-11 centre Eloy Camacho Vargas. Vargas, who played at the University of Kentucky (2012), was an imposing force inside against an undermanned Virgin Islands squad. He scored 19 points and collected 11 rebounds, but it was his effort on the offensive glass (eight rebounds) that caused issues for defenders.
Also contributing to the win were Sadiel Rojas and Eulis Baez Benjamin. Rojas recorded 17 points and 10 rebounds, but left his mark on the defensive end, totaling seven steals in his debut. The 35-year-old Benjamin brings with him 12 years of international experience and played exceptionally well in the opener, scoring 17 points to complement an eight rebound, seven assist night.
Canada will require a stout defensive effort inside to compound the size and strength of Vargas and company. Tasked with the aforementioned duties will be Joel Anthony, Owen Klassen and Marc Trasolini, who together carry a distinct size advantage over a smaller Dominican frontcourt.
The big men will serve as a collective pillar for head coach Roy Rana's team and will look to anchor the defence throughout the game.
Not unlike Canada, the Dominican Republic possess several capable perimeter shooters. However, despite the fact the club shot just 28.1 per cent from deep last game, they did connect on nine three-pointers. Largely responsible for the perimeter scoring was Ronald Ramon Guerrero, who hit four of 10 from three-point territory en route to a 16-point night.
Head coach Melvyn Lopez Guillen's club feasted on points-off-turnovers in its previous game (27) and engineered a large sum of its offence courtesy of careless play by the Virgin Islands (22 turnovers).
However, the Canadians did a great job securing the basketball against Bahamas, only committing 11 turnovers in the victory.
Canada's roster consists of several athletic, scoring-minded guards including Brady Heslip, Xavier Rathan-Mayes, and Phil Scrubb. The Canadians will look to continue manufacturing offence and draw fouls in the paint, as highlighted by the team's 31 free-throw attempts in the first game of the Qualifiers.
In contrast, Dominican Republic lacks much resistance down low, something Canada will look to exploit in its matchup.
Canada currently ranks 25th on the international stage and sits 8th in the Americas region, according to the FIBA World Men's Rankings, while the Dominican Republic places higher at 17th and 6th, respectively.
At the conclusion of the six windows, the top seven teams overall in the Americas Region will advance to the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in China from August 31 - September 15.