Canada routs Cuba in the Olympic qualifying tournament
MEXICO CITY (AP) Nick Stauskas and Andrew Wiggins scored 15 points each in limited action and Canada routed Cuba 101-59 on Wednesday for its first victory in the Olympic qualifying tournament.
Stauskas, a guard for the Philadelphia 76ers, also had six rebounds and four assists in 22 minutes. Wiggins, the NBA rookie of the year for the Minnesota Timberwolves, added six rebounds and two blocks for the Canadian team that fields nine NBA players and is considered one of the favorites to win one of the two berths to Rio.
''Today's game gave us a chance to play free and to gain some confidence because it's a long tournament,'' Stauskas said. ''We played more relaxed in the third quarter and they made a run, but after that we focused and play well the rest of the game.''
Brady Heslip had 12 points, and Dwight Powell finished with 10 to help Canada rebound from an opening loss to Argentina. Canada is trying to qualify for the Olympics for the first time since Sydney in 2000.
''After yesterday's game we needed to improve and today we were more focused,'' Canadian coach Jay Triano said. ''We balanced the minutes because we felt it was important since we will play four games in four days.''
Jasiel Rivero led Cuba with 20 points. Cuba, the lowest ranked team by FIBA in this tournament at 58th in the world, had its third straight lop-sided loss.
''Our basketball is growing, just being here is a victory for us,'' Cuban coach Daniel Scott said. ''We don't have any players in foreign leagues, but it's been approved a change and we will begin to do that. That's the way to grow and become a powerhouse because we have the talent.''
Wiggins scored five points during a 13-0 run to open the game.
Canada will face Venezuela on Thursday.
Earlier, James Feldeine scored 16 points, and Euliz Baez added 13 to help the Dominican Republic beat Panama 83-66 in group A. Jaime Lloreda led Panama with 16 points.
In other results, Venezuela downed Puerto Rico 74-63, and Mexico beat Brazil.
Gustavo Ayon led Mexco with 27 points and 13 rebounds. Jorge Gutierrez added 14 points for the Mexicans, who are trying to qualify for their first Olympics since Montreal 1976.
After Wednesday games, Venezuela (2-0) leads Group B, followed by Puerto Rico (1-2), Argentina (2-0), Canada (1-1) and Cuba (0-3). In Group A, the Dominican Republic topped the standings at 1-2, followed by Uruguay (1-1), Brazil (1-1), Panama (1-1) and Mexico (1-0). Teams get three points for a victory and one for a loss.