Canada might very well have punched its ticket to the FIBA World Cup next summer in Spain. Maybe that is a bit presumptuous. But bouncing back from a loss to group favorite Puerto Rico and then having to turn around to face the other qualifying threat in the group with a day off on the horizon, that was something difficult to ask this young team.
Or maybe not. Because Canada responded with an absolute blowout of Brazil 91-62 in the third day of the FIBA Americas Championship. It all but assures Canada of finishing second in the group with only one game in group play remaining against cellar dwellar Uruguay.
This game turned out to be a complete effort with Canada holding Brazil to 24 points in the second and third quarters. Canada scored 49 points in that stretch. Then the young team, which gave up a comeback to Jamaica in the second half of the first game and allowed a close game to get out of hand in the loss to Puerto Rico, did not relent or give Brazil a chance to breathe. Canada won the fourth quarter 23-16.
Andrew Nicholson had a solid game, fighting off foul trouble once again. He scored 13 points on 3-for-8 shooting. He hit all six of his free throws and was called on twice to shoot technical free throws.
Nicholson continued to show off an expanded offensive game off the dribble and plenty more confidence shooting from long range. The defense and rebounding numbers continue to be wanting, but that is just who Nicholson is right now. He has certainly improved his game even since Summer League.
Cory Joseph of the Spurs turned in a strong game with 28 points and nine rebounds to lead Canada. The Canucks also shot 8 for 19 from beyond the arc and added 18 points off turnovers. They controlled the game throughout and the Brazilians got frustrated, registering several technical fouls in the game.
Canada has one game left in preliminary round play and have clinched a spot in the quarterfinals.