Knicks: RJ Barrett and Canada’s Olympics hopes end in heartbreaking OT loss

New York Knicks wingman RJ Barrett played his best game in the tournament but it was not enough for Canada.

Barrett scattered team-highs 23 points and six assists to help Canada forced overtime after trailing by nine points late in regulation. But the Czech Republic recovered and proved steadier down the stretch banking on Tomas Satoransky’s heroics that ended Canada’s Olympics hopes.

The Czech Republic advanced to the finals of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Victoria, B.C. in Canada with a gut-wrenching 103-101 win Saturday after Satoransky hit a banked shot with 1.8 seconds left in overtime.

The Czech Republic was in control for most of the match behind their crisp ball movement (24 assists) and outside shooting (13-28 3s). They looked headed to a comfortable victory after Satoransky hit a pair of free throws that extended their lead to nine, 94-85, with 44.7 seconds remaining.

But Barrett just wouldn’t give up. He keyed a 9-0 Canada closing run in the regulation with a stepback three-pointer.

Then Andrew Wiggins punctuated that run with a three-pointer off a steal to extend the game for five more minutes.

Canada opened the overtime with a five-point lead, 99-94, behind Barrett’s big plays. The Knicks wingman assisted Nickeil Alexander-Walker for a wide-open three-pointer then he followed up with a beautiful spin move and drew a foul.

But Barrett missed the bonus shot and things began to unravel. The Czech Republic stormed back and took the lead on a wide-open Blake Schilb three-pointer, 101-99, with 49 seconds left.

During that stretch, Barrett missed a three-pointer and a floater that could have extended Canda’s lead to three. Instead, Schilb, who led the Czechs with 31 points, hit the go-ahead three-pointer.

Wiggins tied the game with a short stab before Satoransky hit the game-winner over the outstretched arms of Oklahoma City Thunder’s defensive stalwart Lu Dort.

It was a heartbreaking loss for Canada who came into this game with back-to-back victories over Greece and China.

Barrett ended the tournament with all-around numbers of 20.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 4.7 assists with a shooting split of 49/32/55.

He was Canada’s second-leading scorer behind Wiggins’ 21.7 points and was tied with Cory Joseph as the team’s assists leader.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

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