TORONTO, Ont. (May 29, 2021) – Canada's Men’s National Team finished third in Pool D with a 2-2 record, narrowly missing out on the quarter-finals at the FIBA 3x3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament 2021 in Graz, Austria.
Canada opened the tournament with a 18-14 victory over Croatia on Thursday to begin pool play. Alex Johnson and Steve Sir finished with six points each to lead the Canadians to victory. Johnson, who did all his damage from two-point territory, finished with a game-high 0.86 shooting efficiency, after knocking down 3-of-6 attempts from downtown. As a team, Canada shot 47% from inside the arc.
Despite a lengthy rain delay in Graz, which bumped Canada’s second game of the day to Friday morning, if the team was affected they surely didn’t show it.
Going up against Netherlands, the third seed in the tournament, Canada remained undefeated with a key 17-15 win to move into second in the Pool D table. Johnson led all Canadians with seven points, while Jordan Jensen-Whyte grabbed a team-high six boards. Fouls played a pivotal role in the contest as Canada converted all six of their free throw attempts and remained disciplined defensively as they didn’t allow Netherlands a trip to the line all game.
Canada dropped a 21-16 decision on Saturday afternoon to powerhouse Latvia in a battle for first in the pool. Johnson and Sir each scored five points for Canada in the loss. Two-point shooting and rebounding proved to be the difference as the Canadians were out-rebounded 16-9, while shooting just 22% from beyond the arc.
Looking to advance to the quarter-finals, Canada faced off against hosts, Austria, to conclude pool play. However, the Austrians proved to be too much for the Canadians as they lost a close contest, 19-16. As he did all tournament long, Johnson filled up the score sheet, scoring a game-high seven points. Canada was eliminated after the Netherlands defeated Croatia 22-16 to conclude pool play.
Steve Sir, Kyle Landry, Jordan Jensen-Whyte and Alex Johnson also play together as 10th ranked Team Edmonton on the FIBA 3x3 World Tour.
The event features 40 teams (20 in each gender), divided into four pools of five teams and seeded automatically based on the 3x3 Federation Ranking. The participating teams qualified via the FIBA 3x3 Federation Ranking (taking into account universality criteria) at the cut-off date (1 November 2019 in this case) and the results of the FIBA 3x3 World Cup 2019 (the medalists).
Each team plays the other four teams in their respective pools. The top two teams from each pool qualify for the quarter-finals and then play knock-out games all the way to the semifinals. Six tickets (three per gender) to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics – where 3x3 will make its debut – will be awarded at the FIBA 3x3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament. 3x3 was added to the Olympic Program, starting from the Tokyo 2020 Games, on June 9, 2017.
The top 3 teams in the FIBA 3x3 Ranking in the men’s category (Serbia, Russia and China), along with the Japanese hosts, have already qualified for the Olympics.
For more information about the FIBA 3x3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament Competition System, click here.