Canada drops qualifier to Dominican Republic

Basketball team dealt a blow as it chases spot in World Cup

SANTIAGO, Dominican Republic (CP) — Philip Scrubb scored 22 points and pulled down seven rebounds in Canada’s 88-76 loss to the Dominican Republic on Monday in their second game of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Americas qualifiers.

Dyshawn Pierre had 15 points and five rebounds for Canada (1-1), which had opened the qualifiers with a 93-69 victory over the Bahamas on Friday in Halifax.

“Obviously we came out on the losing side but credit to the Dominican Republic,” said head coach Roy Rana. “They came out with a lot of energy and intensity and kind of took the game to us. They put us on our heels for most of the night. Proud that our guys fought back and made it a better game.”

Rigoberto Mendoza led the Dominican Republic (2-0) with 25 points.

The loss concludes the first of six qualifying windows when teams from the Americas will play each other for the right to compete in the FIBA Basketball World Cup.

At the conclusion of the six windows, the top seven teams overall in the region will advance to the World Cup in China from Aug. 31 to Sept. 15.

The Canadians will next play on the U.S. Virgin Islands on Feb. 22 in wCanada is ranked 25th internationally and eighth in the Americas region, while the Dominican Republic places higher at 17th and sixth, respectively.

The Canadians dug themselves a hole early in the first quarter, trailing 15-5 at one point and allowing Dominican Republic scoring guard Victor Liz to record eight quick points.

However, Canada was able to stay within striking distance due to a strong effort on the glass, out-rebounding Dominican Republic 17-9.

Olivier Hanlan provided a much needed lift coming off the bench during Canada’s early scoring draught. The six-foot-four guard recorded five of his eight points in the first 10 minutes of action and helped trim the deficit to three (19-16) after the first quarter.

“They came out with alot of energy,” said Scrubb. “Initially we had a tough time matching that but like (Coach Rana) said I think we fought back in the end and I think we can learn alot from this game and get better.”

Canada struggled to generate offence in the second quarter, totaling just 30 points after 20 minutes of play.

The struggles continued in the second half for Canada, as the club was unable to stage a comeback against an unwavering Dominican Republic defence.

Canada finished the night shooting 44.8 per cent from the field and 29.6 per cent (8/27) from beyond the arc.