Canada beat Spain at the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup to clinch an Olympic berth. Canada beat Spain at the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup to clinch an Olympic berth. (The Comeback on Twitter.)

The 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup saw quite a bit of history made Sunday. In addition to Lithuania’s men’s national basketball team beating the U.S. for just the third time ever, the Canadian team pulled off an incredible fourth-quarter comeback against Spain. Trailing 73-61 heading into the final frame, they emerged with an 88-85 win. And that clinched their berth in the 2024 Paris Olympics, the first time a Canadian men’s team has made it there since 2000:

Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was a key figure for the Canadians down the stretch, scoring or assisting on 14 straight points in the final two minutes. That included a jump shot with 44 seconds left that gave Canada an 82-80 lead:

Gilgeous-Alexander finished with 30 points, seven assists, four rebounds, and three steals, and was named the player of the game. Houston Rockets swingman Dillon Brooks was also huge for Canada, including with a big late three that tied the game with 1:19 left:

Brooks finished with 22 points (including a perfect three-for-three on shots from deep) and five rebounds. He and Gilgeous-Alexander scored 24 of Canada’s 27 fourth-quarter points. New York Knicks’ point guard R.J. Barrett also chipped in 16 points and five rebounds.

For Spain, FC Barcelona Bàsquet’s Willy Hernangómez led the way with 25 points, six rebounds, and three assists. Memphis Grizzlies’ center Santi Aldama added 20 points and two rebounds, while Hernangómez’s Barcelona teammate Álex Abrines chipped in 11 points.

Beyond securing Olympic qualification as one of the top two teams from the Americas (the other is the U.S., despite their loss to Lithuania), the victory here means Canada wins Group L with a 4-1 record (and a tiebreaker over Latvia, who also advances). They’ll next take on Luka Dončić and Slovenia in the quarterfinals Wednesday. Meanwhile, Spain’s run at the World Cup ends here, as they finished 3-2 in the group.

[The Athletic; image from The Comeback on Twitter]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.