Canada went undefeated in pool play after an easy 96-76 victory over short-handed Mexico that eliminated their opponent from moving on to the medal round. Canada now awaits the loser of the game between United States and Brazil who they will face in the semi-finals at 6 pm ET on Friday.
Canada won Pool B with a 3-0 record, defeating Dominican Republic 105-88, Argentina 88-83 and Mexico 96-76 who each finished with a 1-2 mark and the Dominican advancing to the semis on a tie-breaker.
For the second game in the tournament, Brady Heslip led Canada in scoring. This time with 20 points on 8-13 shooting. Heslip was a late arrival to Team Canada after leaving an unproductive NBA Summer League stint early and its hard to say where head coach Jay Triano would be without him. Heslip has averaged 18 points per game on 56 percent shooting from the field and hit on 10 of 20 three-point attempts.
Heslip’s highlight bucket in this game wasn’t from beyond the arc, however. It was on a deep football-style pass from the 18-year-old Jamal Murray the length of the floor that was caught by Heslip taking just one-step to lay it in at the other end.
If nothing else, the Pan Am Games are going to land Heslip a job for next season.
The yet-to-be college freshman Murray hasn’t looked like a rookie on the Senior Men’s National Team and aside from his tournament high in turnovers of 5, the game against Mexico was just another example of the high expectations this kid will be bringing with him to University of Kentucky in the fall. Murray has averaged a veteran-like 15.3 points on 54.8 percent shooting and has been a surprisingly important part of Team Canada’s success thus far.
Andrew Nicholson posted his second double-double with 11 points and 10 boards and his frontcourt partner Anthony Bennett was solid once again with 10 points and 8 rebounds.
This game was never in doubt after the 5 minute mark of the first quarter when Bennett hit a pair of free throws to make the score 11-10 for Mexico. From then on, the rout of Mexico was in full effect.
Gabriel Giron with 18 points and Orlando Mendez with 24 points tried to keep the score respectable, but Mexico was getting beat up on the glass 44-30 and Canada was shooting the lights out at 52 percent from the field. There just wasn’t much they could do to stop it.
Canada has never won a medal at the Pan Am Games. It’s starting to look like this will finally be their year.
“The thing he does best is shoot the basketball,” head coach Jay Triano said. “But, Brady is a good playmaker as well and he knows how to score, whether it’s a shot or a drive to the basket. He is unselfish as a driver and he finds guys who are open. His ability offensively is going to help (Team Canada) score points.”