Cory Joseph led the charge for Canada as they knocked off Jamaica 85-64 in the opening game of the FIBA Americas tournament in Caracas, Venezuela.
The San Antonio Spurs guard finished the game with a near-triple-double of 17 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds.
Canada opened the game with a 13-2 run keyed by a pair of 3-pointers from veteran guard Andy Rautins and they rarely looked back as they extended the lead to 42-25 at the half on a dunk from Cleveland Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson.
“Andy hitting the threes got us off to a great start,” said Canadian coach Jay Triano who was surprised at how quickly his side got rolling.
The Jamaicans failed to force a turnover in the opening 20 minutes in which Canada rarely felt tested.
The Canadians opened the second half as strongly as they finished the first, extending their lead to 26 points before the Jamaicans woke up.
An 18-1 run by Jamaica helped them close the gap to 52-45 with two minutes to play in the third quarter.
“I thought we came out very well in the third quarter but then stopped being aggressive and let them back in,” Triano said.
Joseph then went on an 8-0 run to put Canada back in the comfort zone and although the Jamaicans would manage to keep Canada’s lead within reach over the next few minutes, they failed to get closer than seven points before the Canadians iced the game with a late run.
Baylor Bears guard Brady Heslip chipped in with 17 points while Thompson also had a solid game in contributing 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Former New York Knick Jerome Jordan (12 points, eight rebounds) and bruly forward Adrian Uter (14 points, six rebounds) had solid games on the inside for Jamaica.
Canada will play Puerto Rico in their second game of the tournament on Saturday at 1:30 pm ET. The contest can be seen live on Sportsnet 360.