France, Australia into World Cup quarters; US must wait
ABS-CBN Sports on Sep 08, 2019 07:57 AM
Andrew Bogut of Australia battles for a rebound with Eloy Vargas of the Dominican Republic during their second round basketball game in the FIBA Basketball World Cup in Nanjing in eastern China's Jiangsu province, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019. (AP Photo)
By Stephen Wade, Associated Press
France and Australia reached the quarterfinals of the World Cup on Saturday. They join Serbia, Spain, Poland and Argentina who have already reached the final eight.
The last two quarterfinal spots will be decided on Monday when the United States (4-0) faces Brazil (3-1) and Greece (2-2) plays the Czech Republic (3-1).
The U.S., Brazil and the Czechs are the only teams in contention for the last two places. Greece cannot advance to the quarterfinals.
France (4-0) moved on with a narrow 78-75 victory over Lithuania. Australia (4-0) defeated the Dominican Republic 82-76 to advance.
In the day's other second-round games, the United States defeated Greece 69-53 and the Czech Republic defeated Brazil 93-71.
FRANCE 78, LITHUANIA 75
At Nanjing, Evan Fournier led France with 24 points and Nando De Colo scored 21. France led after three quarters 65-54 and withstood a closing charge by Lithuania.
Lithuania was led by Jonas Valanciunas with 18 points and eight rebounds. Mantas Kalnietis scored 12.
UNITED STATES 69, GREECE 53
At Shenzhen, Kemba Walker scored 15 points and Donovan Mitchell added 10 on his 23rd birthday for the unbeaten Americans. The U.S. led at the half 38-25 and pulled away slowly as it did for most of the match.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led Greece with 15 points, but the reigning NBA MVP was pretty much held in check.
The U.S. can clinch a quarterfinal berth on Monday in several ways — beating Brazil, or if Greece beats the Czech Republic, or through a three-way tiebreaker.
Greece was eliminated for contention for a quarterfinal spot.
CZECH REPUBLIC 93, BRAZIL 71
At Shenzhen, the Czech Republic kept itself in the hunt for a spot in the World Cup quarterfinals with an easy win over the previously unbeaten South Americans.
Tomas Satoransky scored 20 points, added nine assists and had seven rebounds for the Czechs (3-1), who will play Greece on Monday. Ondrej Balvin scored 15.
"It was another great victory for us," Satoransky said, with the team playing to its identity by "playing fast, running, sharing the ball and fighting on defense."
Coach Ronen Ginzburg said "it's an amazing time for us, for Czech Republic basketball. It's a great win."
Vitor Benite scored 12 for Brazil (3-1), which will face the U.S. on Monday in the second-round finale for both teams. Leandro Barbosa and Marcelinho Huertas each scored 11 for Brazil.
AUSTRALIA 82, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 76
At Nanjing, Australia, which had already clinched a place in next year's Olympics by being the top team in the World Cup out of Oceania, took away the Dominican Republic's chances of reaching the quarterfinals.
Australia (4-0) was led by Patty Mills of the San Antonio Spurs with 19 points and nine assists. Chris Goulding added 15 with 13 from Jock Landale. Eloy Vargas led the Dominicans with 16 points and Victor Liz added 14.
Australia joins Japan as the two qualified teams for Tokyo. Japan is in as the host nation. Six more teams for the 12-team Olympic field will be decided from the World Cup.
Canada set a FIBA World Cup (and world championship, its predecessor) single-game record for 3-pointers made, hitting 24 of them in its 55-point win over Jordan.
The previous record was 19, accomplished twice, both times by the U.S. in 1994 — first against Puerto Rico, then again against Russia. The second-highest total at this World Cup was 18, done Saturday by New Zealand against Japan.
New Zealand (2-2) 111, Japan (0-4) 81
Canada (2-2) 126, Jordan (0-4) 71
Turkey (2-2) 79, Montenegro (0-4) 74
Germany (2-2) 89 vs. Senegal (0-4) 78