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Canada defeats Turkey 77-69 in 1st Game of Olympic Qualifier

Canada withstood a late fourth quarter push from the Turks to hold on and take the driver's seat in Manila.

Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Cory Joseph was every bit the leader Team Canada needed on Tuesday morning as he played a game high 34:46, scoring 21 points on 8-for-16 from the floor, dishing out five assists and grabbing three rebounds in Canada's strong performance over a scrappy Turkish team. (Full box score and stats here.)

Coming out of the half with a 39-30 lead, Joseph took over the 3rd quarter, dropping 11 points in the frame on a baseline layup, a wing three ball, and closed out the quarter with three consecutive mid-range jumpers from atop the elbow.

Canada didn't relinquish the lead after that, withstanding a late Turkish 3-point flurry to hold on for the eight point victory.

Tristan Thompson was only 3-for-11 for 10 points in his debut game for the senior team this summer, but was a presence in the paint defensively and grabbed 6 rebounds.

The Brothers Scrubb and Melvin Ejim also had notable performances that won't stand out on the box score, as they brought consistent defence and timely shot making when Turkey mounted their mini-runs through the second half.

It might sound overly simplistic, but shooting was the major difference in the game as Turkey was ice cold all game long. They were an abysmal 19-for-34 (54%) from the free throw line while Canada was a tidy 20-for-24 (83%) from the stripe. Also missing in action was their gunner Ali Muhammad (The artist formerly known as American-born Bobby Dixon) as he managed only a point on 0-for-8 from the field and was invisible nearly the entire game.

Canada is back at it again tomorrow morning as they face a Senegalese team without their NBA guy in Gorgui Dieng, but still pose a tough test of athleticism as the roster boasts five guys over 6'9''.

That game goes once again at 6:30 AM on TSN4.