MEXICO CITY – Minnesota Timberwolves guard and former Kansas Jayhawks star Andrew Wiggins is used to playing in packed stadiums.
So when he takes the court against host Mexico with the rest of the Canadian men’s basketball team Tuesday night at the FIBA Americas Championship, he’ll be ready.
“I feel like big crowds and crazy fans, that gets me going, it gets me motivated,” Wiggins said following Canada’s 109-82 win over Uruguay Monday night in second-round action at the Olympic qualifying tournament.
Wiggins scored 11 of his 18 points in the third quarter to lead Canada, which got double-digit points from seven different players.
Andrew Nicholson poured in 15 points with 10 rebounds off the bench as the Canadians won their fifth straight game at the tournament. Nik Stauskas had 14 points, Brady Heslip added 13, Melvin Ejim had 11 and Anthony Bennett and Phil Scrubb chipped in 10 apiece.
“We keep saying that we’re a deep team,” said Canadian coach Jay Triano. “When someone may not be having a good game, or gets into foul trouble or gets injured… someone else has an opportunity to step up and those two guys (Ejim and Nicholson) really stepped up.”
Nicolas Borsellino led Uruguay with 15 points.
Canada plays Mexico on Tuesday night before closing out the second round of group play against the Dominican Republic on Wednesday.
“We know every time in the international game that you play a team in their home country it’s loud, it’s an environment that you don’t really see too often in North America, and we’re excited for the opportunity,” Triano said. “We’ve had the opportunity to grow as a team and I don’t know if the timing could be better right now.”
The top two teams at the tournament qualify for next summer’s Olympic Games in Rio.