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Scoring trio propel Canada past Greece in FIBA ​​Olympic qualifying opener – .

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Scoring trio propel Canada past Greece in FIBA ​​Olympic qualifying opener – .


Home sports A trio of scorers propel Canada past Greece in the …

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Depth.

Canada finally has a depth of talent on its national men’s basketball team. And they looked into that on Tuesday night in the opening game against Greece.

Led by solid play from Andrew Wiggins, RJ Barrett and Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Canada began its quest to qualify for the Olympics with a 97-91 victory over Greece in Victoria.

The Canadians trailed up to eight points in the first half, but mounted a charge in the final two quarters to start the event with a crucial victory.

WATCH | Wiggins scores a high in Game 23 as Canada dominates Greece:

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Andrew Wiggins, RJ Barrett and Nickeil Alexander-Walker led the way offensively for Canada by beating Greece 97-91 to open the FIBA ​​Olympic Qualifying Tournament. 3:36

Wiggins finished with a high of 23 points, Barrett finished with 22 and Alexander-Walker had 18 points.

Find live broadcasts, must-see videos, breaking news and more in one package perfect for the Olympics. Following Team Canada has never been easier or more exciting.

More from Tokyo 2020

“We have a lot of guys the team has to worry about,” Wiggins said.

” It’s big. It’s great for the whole country. We have a chance here to do something special here for the country. We have to keep on fighting, put all of our hearts on the ground and hopefully get there. “

There were no fans present inside the 7,400-seat Victoria Memorial Arena, creating an almost eerily calm atmosphere at parts of the game. , seeking to ignite energy and enthusiasm throughout his team.

This is a talented roster for Canada, including eight active NBA players. But it was always going to be about team chemistry leading up to this international event that would lead to success for Canada. It was a slow start.

“We knew it would be a great learning experience. Our first game with this team, ”Nurse said after the game.

“Our effort was really solid. Happy with the result but above all happy to have learned who we are and [where] we go then. “

Missed shots, turnovers and lackluster defensive play plagued Canada early on and Greece made the Canadians pay.

Greece took a 50-46 at halftime.

“We just played together”

But the break seemed to trigger the Canadiens, as head coach Nick Nurse refocused the team for the final 20 minutes.

“It was difficult at first. It was my first time playing against someone new, ”Barrett said.

“We just played together and won. We have done a good job of figuring it out. “

Canada looked like a different team in the second half – the ball movement was better, Canada was strong defensively and Barrett and Wiggins decided to take matters into their own hands.

Wiggins’ three-point shot with 3:43 left in the third quarter gave Canada their first lead of the game. They would increase their lead to five at the end of the third, edging Greece 28-21 in frame.

WATCH | North Courts special guests in preview of the FIBA ​​Olympic qualifiers:

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div class = “thumbnail-container”> North Courts preview FIBA ​​Olympic Qualifier with special guests 30:12

The Canadians continued to wow, building an eight-point lead with 8:35 to go. This forced Greece to ask for a time out but they were never able to recover.

Canada proved to be too strong in the home stretch, their depth and talent surpassing Greece.

“Winning is the most important thing. It was awesome. One more step and that’s all that matters, ”said Alexander-Walker.

“We are able to score. We started slowly, so we kept fighting and competing. “

Nurse called this the “golden age” of Canadian basketball – there is no doubt that there is a lot of talent out there. They took their first step towards qualifying for Tokyo and worked through a slow start as a team to finish strong for the first victory.

Canada now faces China on Wednesday. If they win, they will place first in the group and advance to the semi-final on Saturday. The other group includes Turkey, Uruguay and the Czech Republic.

Health officials have given organizers the green light to allow around 10% of the capacity at the venue for the semi-finals and the championship game.

Only the winning nation of this event will qualify for the 12-team event in Tokyo.

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