Canada missed their first chance to qualify for the 2016 Olympics in men’s basketball, after they were upset by Venezuela in the semi-finals of the FIBA Americas Championship in Mexico City. Venezuela made a last second free throw to beat Canada 79-78 and qualify for the Olympic tournament.
Kelly Olynyk was Canada’s best player in this game, ending the game with 34 points and 13 rebounds. Brady Heslip was the only other Canadian to finish in double digits in points on an uncharacteristic day for Canada. Andrew Wiggins had a disappointing game, scoring just 9 points and grabbing 2 rebounds.
The game ended in dramatic fashion, as Venezuela hit a free throw with less than a second left on the clock, after a loose ball foul by Canada’s Aaron Doornekamp. The foul will be scrutinized, but it appeared to be correct call.
After dropping their first game of the tournament to Argentina, Canada had a strong tournament, mowing down the competition with relative ease before today’s game. They entered the semi-finals as the number one seed with a 7-1 record, and drew what was thought to be a favourable matchup against Venezuela (4-4).
Unfortunately Canada didn’t have their best game, opening the door for the scrappy underdogs.
This was the most talent that Canada has ever put together in men’s basketball, so the loss to Venezuela comes as a crushing blow. Canada will have one more chance to qualify for Rio 2016, in a difficult qualifying tournament next year.