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Canada tops Luka Doncic, Slovenia, joins U.S. in FIBA World Cup semifinals

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - SEPTEMBER 06: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of Canada drives to the basket against Aleksej Nikolic #6 of Slovenia during the FIBA Basketball World Cup quarter final game between Canada and Slovenia at Mall of Asia Arena on September 06, 2023 in Manila, Philippines. (Photo by Ezra Acayan/Getty Images)

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Canada is going to the FIBA World Cup men’s semifinals for the first time. Luka Doncic and Slovenia might not be going to the Paris Olympics.

Three days after qualifying for its first Olympics since 2000, Canada’s men’s basketball team beat Slovenia 100-89 to clinch its best result in World Cup history.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, an All-NBA guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder, scored 31 points in the quarterfinal victory. R.J. Barrett of the New York Knicks added 24 in Manila.

Doncic’s 26 points weren’t enough for Slovenia, which was also bidding for its World Cup semifinal.

FIBA WORLD CUP: Schedule, Results

He was ejected after picking up a second technical foul — both after he argued with referees over calls or non-calls — with Canada up 92-77 with 6 minutes, 37 seconds left.

“I think everybody knows what my frustration was,” Doncic said. “Playing for the national team, it’s a lot of emotions. A lot of times I don’t control myself, which I’ve been having problems with. But the referees told one of the guys they’re not going to call a foul on him because he’s coming at us. I think this is not fair. I know I complained a lot, but I don’t think it’s fair. They’ve been playing very physical with me.”

The Slovenians’ defeat means that Germany and Serbia clinched 2024 Olympic spots as the top two European finishers at the World Cup.

In Friday’s semifinals, Canada plays Serbia (without Nikola Jokic) and the U.S. faces Germany, which edged Latvia earlier Wednesday to make its second World Cup semifinal after doing so in 2002.

Slovenia, which placed fourth in its Olympic debut in Tokyo with Doncic averaging 23.8 points, 9.7 rebounds and 9.5 assists per game, can only qualify for the Paris Games if it wins a last-chance tournament next July.

That’s how it made it to Tokyo, with Doncic recording a triple-double to beat host Lithuania in a win-or-go-home qualifier less than a month after his Dallas Mavericks were eliminated from the NBA playoffs.

Eight of the 12 Olympic men’s basketball spots for 2024 have been filled: host France, the U.S., Canada, Germany, Serbia, Australia, South Sudan and Japan. The other four will be filled by the winner of each of the four last-chance tournaments in July.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.