Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had game highs of 26 points and six steals to lead Canada past New Zealand 107-76 on Saturday (Aug. 12) and advance into the DBB SuperCup Final.
The Hamilton native and all-NBA first team guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder added three assists and a block in just 20 minutes of action.
“He sets the tone for us,” Canada head coach Jordi Fernández said. “It’s not just on offence, on both ends.
“His length, his ability to make plays look very easy. He showed how important he is for us and how good he is.”
Kelly Olynyk and Nickeil Alexander-Walker scored 13 points apiece in Canada’s first exhibition win leading up to the FIBA Men’s Basketball World Cup in late August. Alexander-Walker also logged a game-high eight rebounds.
RJ Barrett and Lu Dort each added 11 points.
“Obviously a good win top to bottom,” Olynyk said. “A lot of guys got involved.
“They pressured us, played a bit different than our last game, but we keep building, keep getting better every single day and try to keep pushing toward the (World Cup) tournament.”
Finn Delaney led New Zealand with 13 points.
Gilgeous-Alexander scored 11 in the opening frame, but a late three from New Zealand cut Canada’s edge to four when the buzzer sounded.
But it was in the second quarter that Canada did most of its damage. Canada outscored New Zealand 39-14 in the frame to take a commanding 67-38 lead into the half before cruising to victory.
Canada will play Germany in Sunday’s final following the Germans’ 107-58 win over China in the other semifinal Saturday.
The Canadians dropped the first of their five exhibition games 86-81 to Germany on Wednesday.
Following the SuperCup, the Canadians head to Spain for a two-game exhibition series. Canada will face defending World Cup champions Spain on Aug. 17 followed by a matchup against the Dominican Republic on Aug. 18.
Earlier Saturday, Canada Basketball announced that guard Kenny Chery had been added to the senior men’s exhibition roster.
Chery appeared in five games for Canada during the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Americas Qualifiers, averaging 10.8 points, 4.2 assists and 3.2 rebounds per game.
The Canadian Press