It was Canada’s second consecutive victory, following Tuesday’s 97-91 victory over Greece in the premier tournament opener at the Save-on-Foods Memorial Center in Victoria.
Canada was once again punctuated by young NBA stars Andrew Wiggins with 20 points and RJ Barrett with 16 points.
“It was a hotly contested game,” Wiggins said at a post-match press conference. “They threw a lot of different defenses at us. With every game we get better. I hope we can continue. “
Canada’s Louguentz Dort, who scored 11 points, said the team moved the ball well in attack and controlled most of the rebounds in defense.
“We didn’t let China get a second chance,” he said.
Canada coach Nick Nurse, who also coaches the NBA’s Toronto Raptors, said China frequently changed their defensive systems, moving from zone to man-to-man and full pitch throughout the game.
The Canadian team, which is playing as a team for the second time, is quickly exposed to the challenges of international basketball, he said.
“In both games we saw a lot of it,” said Nurse.
Chinese coach Du Feng said his team started well in their first tournament, but faded in the fourth quarter against the Canadiens.
“This is the young generation of Team China,” he said. “For the first game of this tournament, in general, it’s a good game. “
Eight NBA players are on the roster, widely regarded as Canada’s most talented men’s basketball team in history for this week’s home court tournament.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker (New Orleans), Trey Lyles (San Antonio), Mychal Mulder (Golden State), Dwight Powell (Dallas), Captain Cory Joseph (Detroit), Wiggins (Golden State) and Barrett (New York) and Dort (Oklahoma City) include NBA players.
The 12-man roster is completed by Trae Bell-Haynes, Anthony Bennett, Aaron Doornekamp and Andrew Nicholson.
Canada is ranked 21st in the world.
Each team faces the other teams in its group once, and the top two teams from each group will advance to the semi-finals on Saturday.
Uruguay, Czech Republic and Turkey are in Group B.
The two semi-final winners will meet on Sunday, with the winner taking a place in Tokyo.
In addition to Canada, there are three other last-ditch tournaments this week to determine final places, in Croatia, Lithuania and Serbia.
The fourth-ranked Canadian women’s team reserved their third consecutive Olympic spot last February.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on June 30, 2021.