Canada cruises past Chile in FIBA World Cup qualifying

Canada's Melvin Ejim celebrates scoring. (Mark Blinch/CP)

VALDIVIA, Chile — Joel Anthony scored 17 points to lead Canada to a 84-61 rout of Chile in FIBA World Cup qualifying on Monday.

Canada is tied with Venezuela atop Group F at 7-1. Chile dropped to 1-7. The Canadians were coming off an 85-77 victory over Brazil on Thursday in Laval, Que. They played Monday night after more than 24 hours of travel.

"Obviously it’s really difficult playing on the road, especially with this format," said Anthony. "To have that long travel and have the guys able to take care of their bodies. We stayed mentally and physically focused and came out and executed the game plan. Everyone really stepped up and did a good job securing us a really important win."

Brady Heslip added 12 points, while Justin Jackson had 10 points and six rebounds. Anthony, a 36-year-old who won an NBA title with the Miami Heat, also had five rebounds and three blocks.

Canada led 23-16 at the end of the first quarter, and took a 43-30 advantage into the halftime break in front of a sellout crowd.

Chile pulled to within six points with four minutes to play in the third, but Aaron Best silenced the chanting crowd with a three-pointer on Canada’s next possession that halted any momentum from the home team. His big basket sparked a 16-4 Canadian run to finish the quarter, punctuated with an Anthony alley-oop from Kaza Kajami-Keane at the buzzer.

The rout was on as Canada took a 66-46 lead into the fourth, and wasn’t threatened down the stretch.

"Great and important road win with an electric crowd in Valdivia, Chile," said head coach Roy Rana. "I thought our guys once again showed mental toughness and resilience to win this type of game. We never folded, were always together and proud to be Canadian."

Canada also lost its NBA and EuroLeague players after Thursday’s game, and will be without their services for the remainder of World Cup qualifying.

The final two windows see the Canadians play at Venezuela on Nov. 30 and Brazil on Dec. 3. Canada will host Chile on Feb. 21 and Venezuela on Feb. 24.

The World Cup is Aug. 31 to Sept. 15.

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