(THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang)

(THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang)

Canada clinches FIBA AmeriCup 2022 berth with 95-90 win over U.S. Virgin Islands

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Anthony Bennett had 30 points and Kaza Kajami-Keane had 27 as Canada clinched qualification for the FIBA AmeriCup 2022 tournament with a 95-90 win over the U.S. Virgin Islands on Saturday.

Canada, which pulled out a 95-93 victory when these teams last played Wednesday, improved to 3-1 group phase play.

Walter Hodge had a game-high 44 points for the U.S. Virgin Islands, which fell to 1-4.

Bennett, a former fist-overall NBA draft pick, shot 7-for-9 from the field and 3-for-5 from three-point range. He added nine rebounds.

Johnny Berhanemeskel had 10 points for Canada and went 3-for-3 from deep. He came off the bench to make a pair of three-pointers in the fourth quarter. The huge buckets opened up a tight game by giving Canada a seven-point lead with just over four minutes to play.

Kajami-Keane added nine assists for Canada, while Thomas Scrubb contributed 10 points and 11 rebounds. Aaron Best also had 10 points.

The status of Canada’s final two group games against Cuba, which were supposed to happen during this qualifying window in San Juan, remain unresolved after the Cuban team was unable to make it into the Puerto Rico bubble.

FIBA said in a release that the status of the two missed games will be determined at a later date.

Canada withdrew from qualifying games against Cuba and the U.S. Virgin Islands in the Dominican Republic in late November because participating would have contradicted Canada’s health, safety and travel recommendations around COVID-19.

FIBA fined Canada Basketball 160,000 Swiss francs ($227,138) and docked the team a point in the standings for withdrawing, but half of the fine and loss of the standing point were erased after Canada played in this qualified window.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 20, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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