Canada is going to the FIBA World Cup.
Kassius Robertson’s 16-point performance helped Canada’s men’s basketball team beat Venezuela 94-56 on Thursday to clinch a berth in next summer’s major international tournament.
The win moved Canada to 9-0 in the Americas Zone qualifier. The Venezuelans fall to 7-2.
Owen Klassen had 11 points and 10 rebounds for Canada (9-0), while Kenny Chery had 12 points and six assists.
Canada absolutely dominated Venezuela on the glass, outscoring the visitors 54-26. The Venezuelans couldn’t get any offensive boards to stretch their possessions, getting just five second-chance points on the night.
Jhornan Zamora led Venezuela (7-2) with 14 points and three rebounds.
WATCH | Canada beat Venezuela to clinch a spot at the FIBA Basketball World Cup:
Canada came out strong early in the first quarter and pressed the Venezuelans, who had just stepped off a plane hours before the game. The start time was pushed back 25 minutes due to the late arrival of the Venezuelan team.
With Canada pressing hard on the ball and often double teaming with the dribbler, the Venezuelans missed their first six shots. Of their first eight attempts, three were air balls. It took almost four minutes for the Venezuelans to hit a shot, a three-pointer from Zamora.
A big block from Klassen, fending off a lay-up attempt from Windi Graterol, got the crowd going in Edmonton. Canada finished the first quarter with a 25-10 lead.
Venezuela went on a nine-point run in the second quarter to cut the deficit to 10 points, but it was as close as it gets.
Canada extended its lead in the third quarter, beating Venezuela 24-11 in the frame. If there was any life left in the visitors, it was taken away from them by Robertson, who hit a three-pointer, was fouled in the act of shooting and froze the game at four points by making the free throw.
In the fourth quarter, with the result firmly in hand, the visitors’ baskets drew polite applause from the home crowd.
The Panama national team (2-6) will face Canada on Sunday in Edmonton.
Canada is ranked 15th in men’s basketball by FIBA. Venezuela is 17th. At 9-0, Canada is the only undefeated team of the remaining 12 teams in two Americas qualifying groups. In FIBA, teams get two points for a win, but one for a loss. The only way to get nothing out of a game is by forfeit. Of the 12 teams qualifying for the Americas, Canada has the most points, with 914 in nine games. Canada is the only team to average over 100 points per game.