In their final game of the preliminary round at the FIBA Americas tournament, Andrew Wiggins led a barrage of scoring that overwhelmed Puerto Rico 112-92 as Canada won again to go 3-1 and advance to the second round as the third seed.
It was a very close game in the first half and Puerto Rico was leading 44-35 with 2:15 left to play, but then Canada stepped up the pressure on the glass. The result a barrage of free throws started by Wiggins going 5-5 from the line over a span of 21 seconds, Cory Joseph going 4-6 from the stripe and then with 5 seconds left in the half, Phil Scrubb converting an offensive board by Kelly Olynyk into a two-point bucket to complete the 11-0 run Canada used to take the lead into the break.
“Puerto Rico played well early,” said head coach Jay Triano at the postgame presser. “(They) made some three-point shots. We knew that was part of their game. They are going to be quick up and down the floor.
“I was really pleased with the way our guys responded at half time, even for the last two and a half minutes of the first half. We bounced out of time out, went on a 11-0 run to end the half. We talked about defensive coverages, made some adjustments in the second half and when we did that it kind of blew the game away.”
Canada came out in the second half just as hot as they went into the break, dominating Puerto Rico with a 16-4 run that ballooned Canada’s lead to 62-48. The lead continued to grow and got as high as 23 points. Puerto Rico never really threatened again.
Wiggins led Canada with 19 points. Cory Joseph, Nik Stauskas and Kelly Olynyk had 15 points each. Olynyk and Anthony Bennett had 9 rebounds each as Canada dominated the boards 58-40.
The Dallas Mavericks J.J. Barea had 20 points for Puerto Rico to lead all scorers.
Canada’s schedule for the second round (w-l preliminaries):
Sun Sept 6 vs Panama (2-2)
Mon Sept 7th vs Uruguay (1-3)
Tues Sept 8th vs Mexico (4-0)
Wed Sept 9th vs Dominican Republic (2-2)
The top four teams Group A play the top four teams from Group B. Then the top four teams after the second round finishes advance to the semi-finals.