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Canada basketball
Holly MacKenzie

Canada moves to 8-0 in Americas Qualifiers after dominant 106-50 victory over Panama

PANAMA CITY, Panama (August 29, 2022) -- The Canadian Senior Men’s National Team moved to 8-0 in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Americas Qualifiers with a dominant 106-50 victory over Panama at Arena Roberto Durán in Panama City on Monday.

As the leading scorer (102.0 points per game) and lone team to average over 100 points per game through these qualifiers, Canada’s offence was on full display in Monday’s win.

Canada never trailed and was in control from the jump, using a 16-0 run in the first quarter to blow the game open and lead 33-7 after the first 10 minutes. Five players reached double figures for a Canadian team that shot 50 percent from the floor while holding Panama to just 27 percent shooting. Canada also overwhelmed Panama beyond the arc where they connected on 16-of-36 attempts from deep compared to just 4-of-27 makes from three for Panama.

The Canadians hold a 43.3 percent shooting average from beyond the arc to lead all teams in the Americas Qualifiers. They also lead in field goal percentage (51.4 percent) and free-throws (76.3 percent). In Monday's game, they recorded 23 assists to eight for Panama. The Canadians also held a 49-8 edge in bench points, as well as a 50-34 edge in rebounds in the win.

Kelly Olynyk led all scorers with a game-high 18 points to go with six rebounds and five assists in just 17 minutes of action. Kevin Pangos orchestrated the offence beautifully while also connecting on 5-of-7 three-pointers, adding 17 points and five assists as he finished a game-best +42 in the win. Melvin Ejim and big man Zach Edey each scored 15 points and Kassius Robertson added 11 points for Canada.

Panama was led by a 16-point effort from Jhivvan Jameel Jackson Melendez and 10 points from Eric Alexander Romero James in the loss.

Olynyk ensured that Canada took care of business early in Panama, scoring 12 of his 18 points in the first quarter.

The hot three-point shooting continued for Canada in the second quarter as Pamana tried to cut into the lead but couldn’t slow the Canadians from deep.  A steal and three from Robertson extended Canada’s lead to 40-11 with 7:14 remaining in the first half. After a three-pointer from Ejim and then another three from Robertson, Canada led 49-12. A three–point shot from Pangos, this one assisted by Olynyk, capped a 13-0 run by Canada to extend the lead to 44 points with 2:23 remaining in the half. Canada continued firing from deep and the shots kept falling. After two more three-pointers from Pangos, Canada led 64-25 at the break after connecting on 11 three-pointers in the first half.

Ejim ensured Canada continued where they left off in the first half to start the third as he scored on a layup, raced back to block a shot on the defensive end, and then got another layup to go, giving Canada a 68-25 lead with 8:47 remaining in the third. Canada held Panama scoreless for more than five minutes, reeling off a 15-0 run to stretch the lead to 50. Canada won the third quarter 28-11, as free throws from Trae Bell-Haynes gave Canada a 92-36 lead heading into the fourth.

Despite having the game in hand, Canada continued to push in the final quarter, maintaining their 56-point lead. A three-pointer from Jean-Victor Mukama made it 100-44 Canada with 4:29 remaining as the Canadian defence continued to press and pressure Panama until the final buzzer sounded.

Canada returns home as the FIBA World Cup 2023 Americas Qualifiers continue in November against Venezuela and Panama.