SAINT THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands (July 4, 2022) -- The Canadian Senior Men’s National Team defeated the U.S. Virgin Islands 113-67 on Monday to remain undefeated with a perfect 6-0 record in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Americas Qualifiers.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Kassius Robertson scored 24 points apiece to lead a balanced Canadian scoring effort that saw six players reach double figures. Gilgeous-Alexander shot 11-for-13 from the floor, while Robertson connected on eight three-pointers, one more than the U.S. Virgin Islands as a team. Dwight Powell scored 15 points to go with six rebounds, while Kelly Olynyk added 11 points, five rebounds, three assists, four steals and a blocked shot, while Nickeil Alexander-Walker had 11 points, five rebounds and seven assists.
The U.S. Virgin Islands were led by a 14-point effort from Laron Smith as well as an 11-point effort from Ivan Aska in the loss.
Canada never trailed in the game, jumping out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter before using back-to-back three-pointers from Robertson to extend their lead to 16. After a layup from Thomas Scrubb and then a steal and a layup from Olynyk, Canada led by 20 heading into the second quarter.
Canada shot 58 percent in the win, including 50 percent from beyond the arc, making 16-of-32 attempts. In comparison, the U.S. Virgin Islands shot 31 percent from the floor and 25 percent from three, making just 7-of-28 attempts.
In the opening quarter, Canada was lights out, shooting 67 percent compared to just 17 percent for the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Canadians used a 17-0 run spanning the end of the first and beginning of the second quarter to take complete control.
Alexander-Walker extended Canada’s lead to 39-18 with a three-pointer midway through the second quarter. Another three, this time from Gilgeous-Alexander, made it 42-19. After an offensive rebound and putback from Dwight Powell, Canada’s lead was 30 points. The Canadians took a 52-21 advantage into the halftime break behind a 16-point first half effort from Gilgeous-Alexander.
Though the teams traded baskets back and forth to start the third, the U.S. Virgin Islands were unable to get the stops needed to cut into Canada’s lead. After a dunk from Powell, Gilgeous-Alexander had a steal and a layup to give Canada a 62-28 lead with 7:16 remaining in the third. A four-point play for Olynyk extended Canada’s lead to 39 points and free throws for big man Zach Edey gave Canada the largest lead of the game at 41 points. After another three from Robertson and a pair of free throws for Kaza Kajami-Keane, Canada led 89-48 after three.
The fourth quarter was more of the same, with Robertson making four of his eight three-pointers in the final frame as Canada rolled to their sixth straight victory in group play of qualifiers.
With the win, Canada now holds a +198 point differential in group play. Both the point differential and the 6-0 record will carry over into round two where the Canadians will start atop the Group E table.
Canada’s Senior Men’s National Team is set to return to the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre on August 25th as the second round of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Americas Qualifiers begin.