Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 30 points, including going 14-of-16 at the free-throw line, as Canada fended off Spain 88-85 on Sunday at the FIBA men’s basketball World Cup.
Canada advances to the international tournament’s quarterfinals with the win and has clinched a spot at the 2024 Paris Olympics.
The Canadians will face Slovenia on Wednesday in the playoffs.
Dillon Brooks played solid defence and had 24 points for Canada (4-1), while Gilgeous-Alexander added seven assists and four rebounds.
Will Hernangomez’s 25 points led Spain (3-2) and Santiago Aldama added 18.
A 69-65 loss to Brazil on Friday put Canada in a must-win situation against the Spanish.
Trailing 78-74 with 1:51 left in the game, Gilgeous-Alexander drove to the net for a layup and drew a foul. He sank the free throw for a three-point play to pull Canada to within one with 1:51 to go.
Hernangomez was foulled at the other end of the floor and he hit both free throws to make it 80-77.
Brooks drilled a three-pointer on the next possession to tie it up with 1:12 left to play.
He then planted his feet and forced Alex Abrines out of bounds for a Spanish turnover. That put the ball in Gilgeous-Alexander’s hands, who made a step-back jumper for a two-point lead with 43.5 seconds to go.
A Spanish shot was tipped away, with Lu Dort catching the ball and handing it off to Gilgeous-Alexander. He was quickly foulled, sending him to the line for two free throws.
Canadian fans chanted “M-V-P!” as he made both of them for a four-point lead.
After a timeout, Juan Nunez made a hook shot to help Spain close within two points.
Gilgeous-Alexander was foulled after Canada inbounded the ball, sending him to the line again. He sank both of them for another four-point lead with 13 seconds to play.
Aldama made a three-pointer to make it a one-point game, and Gilgeous-Alexander was triple-teamed on the next inbound for a quick foul, again sending him to the free-throw line.
Once more, Gilgeous-Alexander made both free-throws and then Spain was unable to get off a viable shot with less than four seconds on the clock.