Canada's dreams of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympic Games are no more.
Saturday afternoon, The Czech Republic earned a thrilling 103-101 overtime victory over the host Canada to advance to the final of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Victoria, British Columbia.
For the Czechs, it was Blake Schilb that led the way with 31 points, while Tomas Satoransky added 18 points and a clutch bucket in the final seconds of the overtime period. Canada was led by a combined 66 points from the trio of RJ Barrett (23), Andrew Wiggins (22) and Nickeil Alexander-Walker (21).
For more on a wild game, here are some takeaways…
1. Satorasnky calls game
With things tied at 101, it was pretty clear whose hands the ball would be in.
Draped by Luguentz Dort, Satoransky banked in a tough turnaround jumper from the elbow.
🇨🇿 @satoransky banks it to give Czech Republic the win over Canada in OT and advance to the #FIBAOQT Final! pic.twitter.com/b6rrI4SFuu- FIBA (@FIBA) July 3, 2021
Great defence, better offence.
As he returned to the bench, it looked as though Satoransky quoted Hall of Famer Paul Pierce in saying, "I called game."
That he did.
2. A wild, wild finish to regulation
With 57 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Canada trailed 92-82. Then things got wild.
It's nearly impossible to briefly encapsulate it all, but Team Canada closed on a 12-2 run in the final minute, capped off by a tough 3-pointer from Andrew Wiggins.
ANDREW WIGGINS TIES THE GAME! 🇨🇦- FIBA (@FIBA) July 3, 2021
We've got free basketball in Victoria! #FIBAOQT | @CanBball
📺: https://t.co/nqwF32w9eH pic.twitter.com/JxVDo1JkXI
Also in the final minute: Dort and Barrett knocked down triples, Barrett converted an and-one and Canada forced two inbound turnovers by pressing The Czech Republic.
It all set up the game's wild finish.
3. Great to have you back, fans
It wasn't a large number, but fans were welcomed into Victoria Memorial Coliseum for the first time during the tournament.
Goosebumps.- Canada Basketball (@CanBball) July 3, 2021
Standing ovation as Canadian team is introduced.
Great to have fans back!#FIBAOQT pic.twitter.com/hJcEPiP3cE
It was a welcomed sight and an encouraging sign for things to come.
4. The Schilb Show
Schilb entered Saturday afternoon having scored a total of seven points in the Czech Republic's first two games.
He outdid that early in the first quarter.
Schilb parlayed a 13-point first quarter into a game-high 31 points on 11-for-19 shooting, including 7-for-12 from beyond the arc. A late 3-pointer in the extra frame gave The Czech Republic its first lead of the overtime period before things were briefly tied back up.
The Czechs don't win this without the performance of a lifetime from the 37-year-old.
5. Size (dis)advantage
As evidenced by some of the numbers, Canada had few answers for the size presented by The Czech Republic.
The Czechs outrebounded Team Canada 52-39, led by a 14-point, 19-rebound performance from Ondrej Balvin. Dwight Powell, Canada's starting center fouled out in 23 minutes of action, exiting the game with just six points and three rebounds.
Save for the late-game flurry, Canada failed to take advantage of its speed and athleticism and was worn down due to lacking size.
6. Canada goes cold from deep
After an impressive shooting performance in the final game of the Group Phase against China, it was almost as though Canada couldn't buy a 3-pointer.
Canada finished the game shooting 9-for-37 from beyond the arc, and four of those makes came in the final minute of regulation and overtime, meaning Canada hit just five 3-pointers during the first 39 minutes of game action.
The Czech Republic, on the other hand, shot it much better at 13-for-28.
7. The drought continues
The unfortunate reality of the loss from the Canadian Senior Men's National Team on Saturday is that its Olympic drought will continue for at least another three years.
Like most times, there was some bad luck involved, including injuries to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jamal Murray, impending free agents Khem Birch and Kelly Olynyk not being able to play and the circumstances that held Dillon Brooks and Tristan Thompson out of competition.
It's back to the drawing board for Team Canada, which will take this time to figure things out once again.
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