Gilgeous-Alexander leads Canada past Spain to make FIBA Basketball World Cup quarters

Gilgeous-Alexander leads Canada past Spain to make FIBA Basketball World Cup quarters
Canada guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) shoots against Spain centre Willy Hernangomez (14) during the Basketball World Cup second round match between Spain and Canada at the Indonesia Arena stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia, Sunday, Sept. 3, 2023.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 36 points, including going 14-of-16 at the free-throw line, as Canada fended off Spain 88-86 on Sunday at the FIBA men’s basketball World Cup.

Canada advances to the international tournament’s quarterfinals with the win and has clinched a spot at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The Canadians will face Slovenia on Wednesday in the playoffs.

Dillon Brooks played solid defence and had 24 points for Canada (4-1), while Gilgeous-Alexander added seven assists and four rebounds.

Will Hernangomez’s 25 points led Spain (3-2) and Santiago Aldama added 18.

A 69-65 loss to Brazil on Friday put Canada in a must-win situation against the Spanish.

Trailing 78-74 with 1:51 left in the game, Gilgeous-Alexander drove to the net for a layup and drew a foul. He sank the free throw for a three-point play to pull Canada to within one with 1:51 to go.

Hernangomez was foulled at the other end of the floor and he hit both free throws to make it 80-77.

Brooks drilled a three-pointer on the next possession to tie it up with 1:12 left to play.

He then planted his feet and forced Alex Abrines out of bounds for a Spanish turnover. That put the ball in Gilgeous-Alexander’s hands, who made a step-back jumper for a two-point lead with 43.5 seconds to go.

A Spanish shot was tipped away, with Lu Dort catching the ball and handing it off to Gilgeous-Alexander. He was quickly foulled, sending him to the line for two free throws.

Canadian fans chanted “M-V-P!” as he made both of them for a four-point lead.

After a timeout, Juan Nunez made a hook shot to help Spain close within two points.

Gilgeous-Alexander was foulled after Canada inbounded the ball, sending him to the line again. He sank both of them for another four-point lead with 13 seconds to play.

Aldama made a three-pointer to make it a one-point game, and Gilgeous-Alexander was triple-teamed on the next inbound for a quick foul, again sending him to the free-throw line.

Once more, Gilgeous-Alexander made both free-throws and then Spain was unable to get off a viable shot with less than four seconds on the clock.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 3, 2023.

The Canadian PressThe Canadian Press

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!