MEXICO CITY — Canada tuned up for the semifinals at the FIBA Americas championship by defeating the Dominican Republic 120-103 for its seventh straight win at the tournament.
Cory Joseph had 17 points and seven assists in Canada’s second-round finale.
“We got the job done on a tough day,” said head coach Jay Triano. “Emotional game last night, quick turnaround, playing against a team that plays an unconventional style, we did what we had to do. I’m happy to get the win and have 48 hours to prepare for the big game.”
Canada (7-1) has an off-day Thursday before Friday’s semifinal, which will essentially be like a championship game.
The top two teams at the tournament will earn berths to next summer’s Olympic Games. Canada can book its ticket to Rio with a semifinal victory against an opponent yet to be determined.
Kelly Olynyk had 13 points and nine rebounds. Angel Suero led the Dominican Republic (2-6) with 19 points.
Even though they beat host Mexico in the late game Tuesday, Canada stormed out to an early lead against the Dominicans. The Canadians led 36-18 after one quarter and made their first eight three-point shots.
Canada led 65-46 at the half and used its bench players for the final quarter.
“It wasn’t pretty but we definitely got the job done,” said Canada forward Anthony Bennett. “They shot the ball unbelievably well, even with the hand in their face, making a lot of threes. At the same time for us, we just had to rebound and run in transition. That’s basically what we’ve been doing all tournament and we got to keep doing it.”
The Canadian team hasn’t played at the Olympics since the 2000 Games in Sydney.
The Canadian Press