Team Canada has secured the last qualifying spot in wheelchair basketball for the quarterfinals after a rocky start, but will have to face a Great Britain side that finished 4-1 in the preliminaries.
With their wins over South Korea and Columbia to close out their Group A schedule, the Canadians will match up against the top team from Group B in the knockout stage.
Although they are moving on, head coach Matteo Feriani still sees a lot of room for improvement.
“Every game is a final,” said coach Feriani, after a 63-52 victory over Columbia, that clinched a spot in the final eight. “We need to continue to improve in our defensive play and in our team game on the defensive side.”
For the Red and White to have a chance at moving into the semifinals, they will also need their stars to continue scoring. Despite a 2-3 record, Canada bolsters some of the statistical leaders for the entire tournament.
With Nik Goncin and Patrick Anderson sitting third and fourth respectively in scoring, and Anderson leading the tournament in rebounding, the Canadians have shown their offensive abilities, but have failed to convert that into wins against the top teams.
After eight points in their opening game, Anderson has returned to his all-star level of play averaging 24.25 points per game. While the younger Goncin has stayed consistent averaging just over 21 points for the group stage, including an outburst of 33 points in the overtime loss to Turkey.
As for their opponent, the British are coming in after defeating the two other medalists from the 2018 World Championships (Australia and the United States), and the fourth-place team (Iran) by 12.
With a tougher group to play through, the defending world champions surrendered an unusual loss to the Germans. In the match, Germany was able to connect on 54 per cent from deep while Britain could only hit on one leaving them with a tournament worst 41 per cent from the field.
Gaz Choudhry has had a solid tournament leading Great Britain four of their five games. The lone time he was not their leader was against Iran, when he played just six minutes. Choudhry rebounded from that with 28 points in a tight match against the Australians.
If the Canadians can keep the 12-year veteran at bay, they may be able to pull off the upset on
Wednesday when they play at 5:15 a.m. ET.