Wiggins scored 23 points, RJ Barrett added 22 and Canada held off Greece 97-91 in Victoria, Canada in this venue’s first qualifying game, one of four that began on Tuesday.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker scored 18 for Canada, who trailed eight points late in the first half. The Canadians took the lead for a good midway point in the third quarter, then held on in the end.
Canada coach Nick Nurse, the coach of the Toronto Raptors, has made it clear that his team don’t expect a game to be easy.
“We have no illusions about the quality of these teams we play with, their experience and their traditions,” said Nurse. “It never occurred to us that it wasn’t going to be really difficult. I think winning any game is really tough, and then when you play in a meaningful competition, a good team, a physical team, a great well-trained team, you’re going to be under pressure. “
There are four qualifying tournaments – hosted by Canada, Serbia, Lithuania and Croatia – to determine the final four places in the 12-team field for the Tokyo Olympics. These four places will all be determined on Sunday.
Greece had five double-digit players, led by Konstantinos Mitoglou’s 14 points. Kostas Sloukas and former Florida goalkeeper Nick Calathes had 12 for Greece.
“I can’t ask for more from these guys,” said Greek coach Rick Pitino, Basketball Hall of Fame coach now at Iona College. “We are all disappointed that we lost, but we hope to be able to see Canada again.
Canada takes on China on Wednesday, while Greece takes on China on Thursday.
Other brackets were also in play on Tuesday:
SUPPORT BELGRADE, SERBIE
Serbia’s quest to return to the Olympics has started well.
Boban Marjanovic scored 18 points and took 10 rebounds, and the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Games silver medalists opened their Olympic qualifying tournament with a 94-76 victory over the Dominican Republic.
The game was tied at 69 at the start of the fourth quarter; Serbia, which host the qualifying match in Belgrade, dominated the Dominicans 25-7 to the end.
“Of course we are proud,” said Marjanovic. “Everyone who comes here wants to make the Olympic Games the essentials. Everyone is fighting for this place, everyone is playing hard, well, and I’m proud of my team because we haven’t given up on this game. “
Filip Petrusev scored 17 points and Vasilije Micic added 16 for Serbia.
“As expected, it was a tough game,” said Serbian coach Igor Kokoskov.
Michael Torres Cuevas and Victor Liz each had 16 points for the Dominican Republic.
Serbia now face the Philippines on Wednesday, while the Dominican Republic faces the Philippines on Thursday.
SUPPORT KAUNAS, LITHUANIA
* LITHUANIA 76, VENEZUELA 65: Jonas Valanciunas had 20 points on 8 of 9 shots, plus 11 rebounds for Lithuania. Domantas Sabonis and Mantas Kalnietis each scored 12 for Lithuania, who ended the first half on an 8-0 streak to break the tie and keep the lead until the end. David Cubillan scored 11 points for Venezuela.
* POLAND 83, ANGOLA 64: Mateusz Ponitka scored 22 points in 23 minutes, AJ Slaughter added 16 and Poland had few problems in their opener. Angola were leading 19-18 at the end of the first quarter; Poland took control scoring 28 of the next 40 points in the game. Yanick Moreira scored a record 27 points for Angola.
SPLIT SUPPORT, CROATIA
* GERMANY 82, MEXICO 76 Germany used an 18-3 streak in the fourth quarter to claim a victory from behind, forcing Mexico to suffer 10 consecutive misses on the field during part of that streak. Joshiko Saibou led the Germans with 17 points. Francisco Cruz led all scorers with 30 points for Mexico.
* BRAZIL 83, TUNISIA 57: Vitor Benite scored 15 points, and Brazil pulled away steadily in the last three quarters for an easy first win. Oussama Marnaoui scored 13 for Tunisia. The game was tied 21-21 after the first quarter, and Brazil dominated Tunisia 62-36 the remainder of the game.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.