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Balanced scoring carries Canada Basketball past China

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Mandatory Credit: Elsa/Pool Photos-USA TODAY Sports

RJ Barrett and the rest of Canada cruised to a victory over China in the final game of group play in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

Ho hum, Canada Basketball didn’t mess around against China. Greece managed to keep things close against RJ Barrett and his teammates on Tuesday night, but Canada bounced back with an easy 109-79 win over China.

RJ Barrett was part of a balanced scoring attack that featured seven different players in double figures and every player but one scoring. Leading the way was Andrew Wiggins with 20, but Barrett wasn’t far behind with 16 of his own.

Although Barrett struggled to finish his shots at the rim, he put forth a solid all-around performance. The recently-turned 21-year-old dished out five assists on dump-offs inside and by making the extra pass on the perimeter.

Barrett is now averaging 19 points per game in this FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament. The shooting numbers aren’t perfect, but he’s doing enough to help his team win.

It’s another step forward for Barrett in his quest to bring Canada back to the Olympics. The Canadians last qualified for the Olympics in 2000. With the amount of talent on this summer’s team — and the amount of basketball talent in Canada in general — they should be able to become a regular participant every four years.

Where Canada Basketball Stands

The Canadians are the winners in Group A of their Qualifying Tournament. What does that mean?

Well, that assures them a spot in the next round against Turkey, Uruguay, or the Czech Republic. They will likely get the loser of the Turkey-Czech game. Meanwhile, Greece and China will play on Friday night for a chance to make the knockout round.

In short, Canada Basketball needs to win two more games to clinch a berth in the Olympics. Not too look too far ahead, but if they can get there, they will be rewarded with a group that features the USA, France, and Iran. That’s no walk in the park.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.