Sports

Canada blows out The Bahamas

The two nations will face off again today in the Dominican Republic

Canada has been one of the nations that has really been a nemesis to The Bahamas in senior men’s basketball over the past four years, and it was much of the same on Sunday as the FIBA (International Basketball Federation) Americas World Cup Qualifiers got underway in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (DR).

Canada blasted The Bahamas, 115-73, at the Palacio de los Deportes Virgilio Travieso Soto in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on Sunday – it’s third straight emphatic win over the country in senior men’s basketball. In three games over the past four years, two in the 2019 world cup qualifiers, and again on Sunday, against Canada, The Bahamas lost by an average of 37 points.

The two nations will play each other game today, with each trying to get vital points in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 qualifying process. The Bahamas is in a group with Canada, the Dominican Republic and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and just the top three nations will qualify for the second round of qualifiers.

The Bahamas was competitive early on Sunday, leading by four points twice in the opening minutes, but Canada closed the first quarter on a 12-2 scoring run and never looked back. They led 32-22 after the first quarter, and after The Bahamas briefly got back to within single digits at the start of the second, Canada went on another run to open nearly a 20-point lead midway through the second.

The Bahamas hung tough, but 10 straight points by Canada coming down to the end of the second quarter gave their largest lead of the game, 61-36. They led 61-38 at the half, and The Bahamas never made up any 

significant ground in the second half. Canada led by as many as 46 points in the lopsided affair.

Dominick Bridgewater paced The Bahamas with 13 points. David Nesbitt added 12 and Mychel Thompson had 11.

Kyle Wiltjer had a game-high 23 points for Canada, shooting 9-for-13 from the field and 5-for-9 from deep. Aaron Best added 21 on 8-for-10 shooting and Kenny Fred Chery contributed 18 on 6-for-11 shooting. Kyle Alexander gave Canada another player in double figures with 12 points on 4-for-6 shooting.

Team Canada outrebounded The Bahamas 47-32, shot 53.8 percent from the field (42-for-78) compared to 42.6 percent (29-for-68) for The Bahamas, and was much more lethal from three-point territory, connecting on 17 of 43 shots from that distance compared 8 of 29 for The Bahamas.

Team Canada had 31 assists compared to 23 for The Bahamas, and forced 17 turnovers while turning the ball over just 11 times themselves.

With regular head coach Chris DeMarco fulfilling his player development role with the Golden State Warriors of the national Basketball Association (NBA), and Mario Bowleg now serving as the country’s newest sports minister, Moses Johnson stepped into the head coaching role for The Bahamas for this opening window of the FIBA Americas World Cup Qualifiers. He is being assisted by Dexter Cambridge.

Bowleg served as the national coach during the FIBA AmeriCup 2022 Qualifiers in 2020 and 2021.

The Bahamas will play Canada again today, with the game once again taking place on neutral ground. It will be held at 4 p.m. today in Santo Domingo.

Canada is ranked much higher that The Bahamas in the FIBA World Rankings, presented by Nike. Canada is at number 18 while The Bahamas is ranked at number 59. The other two teams in Group C of the qualifiers, the Dominican Republic and the U.S. Virgin Islands are at numbers 20 and 52, respectively.

The Bahamas, Canada, the Dominican Republic and the U.S. Virgin Islands are the exact four teams that were in Group D for the previous FIBA Americas World Cup Qualifiers. The top three teams will advance to the second round of the qualifiers and will join other teams to create two six-team groups. The second round windows are scheduled for August 2022, November 2022, and February 2023. Each team will play two games in each window.

The top three teams in each group, plus the best fourth team, will qualify for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023. The FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 is set to be held in the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia, August 25 to September 10, 2023.

The Bahamas has never advanced to the second round of the FIBA Americas World Cup Qualifiers.

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Sheldon Longley

Sheldon Longley joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2001 as a sports reporter. He was promoted to sports editor in 2008. Sheldon has an extensive background in sports reporting. He covered three Olympic Games and three world championships, along with multiple smaller regional and local games.

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