The Canadian Senior Men’s National team closed the fourth window of FIBA World Cup Qualifying with a massive 106-50 win over Panama to remain the only defeated team in the Americas.
Canada’s win comes without a number of key players as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Cory Joseph and Nickeil Alexander-Walker were unavailable and were replaced by the trio of Jean-Victor Mukama, Trae Bell-Haynes and Abu Kigab.
The game was never in question as Canada jumped out to a massive 19-0 run to start the first quarter and took a 39-point lead into half time. Canada’s lead would continue to grow in the second half, eventually reaching 58 points in the third quarter.
Canada was led by veteran Kelly Olynyk who scored 18 points, grabbed six rebounds, and dished five assists in 17 minutes of play. Kevin Pangos stepped up with the guard rotation depleted and had 17 points to go with five rebounds and five assists.
Zach Edey had his best game of the tournament so far with 15 points and seven rebounds while Melvin Ejim had 15 points.
Canada’s Melvin Ejim drives against Panama (Photo Courtesy FIBA)
The depth of Canada was on display with every Canadian who stepped on the floor scored at least three points. The Canadians continued to dominate as the best three-point shooting team in the Americas by shooting 44 per cent from three on the game.
Panama struggled to find any consistent offence throughout the course of the game, but Jhivvan Jameel Jackson Melendez scored 16 points to go with three rebounds to lead all scorers for his team. Eric Alexander Romero James wasn’t far behind with 10 points and three rebounds.
The stars nearly aligned for World Cup qualification for Canada with Venezuela’s 76-72 win over the Dominican Republic moving them one step closer, but Argentina’s 95-77 win over the Bahamas later in the day means Canada will have to wait until the November window to stamp their ticket.
Canada will have the next couple months off as this qualifying window has come to an end and will be back in action on Nov. 10 when they face Venezuela and will be without NBA and potentially NCAA representation as both seasons will be underway.
Canada vs. Dominican Republic boxscore click HERE.