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Gilgeous-Alexander leads Canada over Spain in World Cup tune-up

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Shai Gilgeous-Alexander - The Canadian Press

GRANADA, Spain — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had a game-high 22 points and added eight rebounds as Canada beat defending world basketball champions Spain 85-80 in overtime in a tune-up for the FIBA World Cup.

RJ Barrett added 18 points, Dwight Powell had 12 points and 12 rebounds and Kelly Olynyk contributed 11 points, five rebounds and six assists.

"It was good," said Barrett. "They’re a really well-coached team. They played extremely hard. It was a good test for us. Another great team win. They’re (ranked) No. 1 in the world for a reason. It felt good to come in here and get a win."

Canada started overtime on a 7-0 run after Barrett found Powell for a dunk before Dillon Brooks hit a three-pointer.

Barrett later gave Canada an 80-73 lead with 3:15 remaining after a dunk of his own following a steal.

Spain's Victor Claver hit a three in the final minutes to cut Canada’s lead to two. Barrett, however, hit a jump shot and two free throws to keep Canada ahead down the stretch.

“So far, he’s made my life so easy,” Canada head coach Jordi Fernández said of Barrett. “I don't have to call much for him. Here and there I do give him a play, but he just finds everything within the offence and that’s extremely valuable. I’m very happy with RJ and his performance so far.”

Former Toronto Raptor Juancho Hernangomez led Spain with 12 points and five rebounds.

Canada improved to 3-1 in exhibition play heading into the 2023 World Cup, which starts Aug. 25 in Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Canada plays France on the opening day in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The Canadians wrap up their exhibition schedule with a game Friday against the Dominican Republic in Granada.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 17, 2023.