Wiltjer leads Canada past Bahamas 113-77 in FIBA World Cup qualifying match

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — Canada’s men’s basketball team is leaving the Dominican Republic with two key wins in the Americas region qualifying tournament for the FIBA World Cup.

Kyle Wiltjer’s 25-point performance led Canada to a 113-77 win over the Bahamas on Monday for two consecutive wins over the island nation. Wiltjer also led Canada with 23 points in Sunday’s 115-73 victory over the Bahamas.

“Any time you play a team like that, an aggressive team like the Bahamas, in a back-to-back situation, (you know they will compete),” said Canada’s head coach Nate Bjorkgren. “We had a very thorough film session, detailed walkthrough this morning, that our guys did a very good job of executing when it came to game time.

“That’s been two days in a row that they’ve shown that unselfish play and the connectivity on the defensive end.”

Wiltjer added five rebounds and two assists for Canada (2-0), while Kassius Robertson had 15 points and Phil Scrubb added 13.

Robertson and Scrubb had three three-pointers apiece.

David Nesbitt led the Bahamas (0-2) with 18 points.

Canada is in Group C of the qualifiers with the Dominican Republic, U.S. Virgin Islands and Bahamas.

“Focus is a really big part of this team,” said Bjorkgren. “In the week that we spent together, they were very focused right where they stepped foot off the plane from all of the countries where they flew in from. “

Canada will next play in the second window of qualifiers which will be held in February.

Eighty national teams are playing across six qualifying windows to secure their place among the 30 teams that will join hosts Japan and the Philippines in the 32-team 2023 FIBA men’s World Cup.

In the Americas group, 16 teams will face off over two rounds with the top three in each group and the fourth-placed team qualifying for the World Cup, which in turn is a direct qualifier for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The World Cup is Aug. 25 to Sept. 10, 2023.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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