Despite a late surge by their opponents, the Canadian national basketball team edged the Senegalese national basketball team, 58-55, to advance to the semifinals of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.
In what was a back-and-forth game with none of the teams leading more than seven points, Canada survived Senegal despite a late rally by the Africans. Senegal, courtesy of a three-point barrage by Clevin Hannah, Mamadou Ndoye and Maurice Ndour, came as close to two points with 59 seconds left with the score at 55-53.
Senegal had a chance to take the lead 21 seconds left but Hannah’s open three-pointer, this time, didn’t go in. Canada rebounded and Cory Joseph was sent to the free throw line as Senegal tried to stop the clock. Joseph converted the two free throws to put the lead back to three points with 11 seconds to go. Hannah would make up for his previous miss with a layup with 5.3 seconds to go to reduce the gap again at two.
Joseph was sent to the line again to stop the clock with three seconds to go. The Toronto Raptors guard, who has been brilliant the whole tournament, proved that he is still, indeed, mortal, as he only converted one free throw which led to Senegal calling a timeout with them down by three points. Senegal had a chance to send the game into overtime but Maurice Ndour’s attempt was short.
Joseph, like in their last game, led Canada with 13 points and five rebounds while Tristan Thompson chipped in with a seven points and 10 rebounds. For Senegal, Ndour’s double-double effort of 16 points and 10 rebounds proved to be in vain as Senegal lost their first game of the tournament.
Senegal would now have to win their game against Turkey tomorrow to advance the semifinals. Canada, on the other hand, will be facing the second placer of Group B composed of France, the Philippines and New Zealand.
Canada: Joseph 13, Ennis 12, Ejim 11, Thompson 7, Bennett 7, P. Scrubb 2, T. Scrubb 2, Heslip 0.
Senegal: Ndour 16, Hannah 13, Ndoye 6, Mbodj 6, Thomas 5, Ndiaye 4, Adams 3, Niang 2, E. Ndiaye 0, Mendy 0, Gueye 0.