MEXICO CITY — The Canadian men’s national team ended their tournament with a victory, but it didn’t erase the disappointment of not qualifying for the 2016 Olympics.
Cory Joseph hit the winning bucket with no time left on the clock as Canada took third place at the FIBA Americas basketball championship by beating host Mexico 87-86 on Saturday.
"This is a tough game to play after both teams went through emotional games last night," said head coach Jay Triano. "Where we are in our program, it was a great experience to beat a team in their own country and get the win after what happened yesterday."
Canada looked to have the victory sealed, leading 79-70 with 3:21 to play, before Mexico started to claw back. The two nations traded baskets before Francisco Cruz put the Mexicans ahead 86-85 with eight second to play.
Kelly Olynyk inbounded the ball to Joseph at his baseline and he walked the ball up the floor before dropping a fade-away jump shot from the top left of the key for the win.
"To come back today and get the win, shows the character we have on this team," said Joseph, who went 4 for 9 from the field.
Andrew Nicholson led Canada with 20 points while Andrew Wiggins added 18. Joseph finished with 11 points and eight assists.
Olynyk, coming off a 34-point, 13-rebound performance in Friday’s semifinal loss to Venezuela, picked up his second straight double double with 10 points and 11 boards.
Marco Ramos led Mexico with 19 points and Gustavo Ayon had 16 points and 19 rebounds.
Canada failed to earn a spot in the 2016 Rio Games after falling to Venezuela 79-78. The men’s squad needed a top-two finish at the FIBAS to qualify. They will have another chance to earn their first Olympic berth since 2000 when they compete in a last-chance world qualifier tournament next summer.
"We didn’t reach our goal that we wanted to, but we took a step in the right direction as a group and we’ll continue to build," said Joseph.