Canada blows out France in 2nd half to win World Cup opener

Canada blows out France in 2nd half to win World Cup opener

Canada parlayed a monster 27-point, 13-rebound, six-assist performance from star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander into a dominating 95-65 victory over Rudy Gobert and powerhouse France on Friday.

Leading by just three at the break, Canada won the second half by a 27-point margin to put the game out of reach in its World Cup opener versus its Group H foe.

Gilgeous-Alexander scored 19 of his points in the second half, going 7-of-9 from the floor. NBA players Kelly Olynyk, Dillon Brooks, and Nickeil Alexander-Walker all contributed double-digit points for the Canadians in the contest.

“We didn’t start the way we wanted to, we started a little bit slow, but we got it on track pretty fast,” Gilgeous-Alexander told reporters postgame.

Evan Fournier led the way for France. The New York Knicks guard recorded 19 points in the first half but only one basket in the second, registering a minus-28 plus-minus in the process.

With its toughest game out of the way, Canada will take on Lebanon on Sunday and Latvia on Tuesday. Two victories would mean a top seed in its group. The squad needs to finish among the top two teams in the Americas region to qualify for the Olympics.

France will look to regroup against Latvia on Sunday. Only the top two seeds in each group advance to the next round.

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