Group C in Cluj-Napoca, Romania and Group D in Istanbul, Turkey took the stage again on Monday, and by evening's end three leaders were still undefeated, Russia and Croatia despite solid challenges, while Spain kept making it look easy.
Led by its captain, Hungary jumped back into the Group C race by downing the Czech Republic 85-73 in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Fully recovered from an injury he suffered in the opening game last week, Adam Hanga of FC Barcelona Lassa carried Hungary to victory and came very close to a triple-double in the process. Hanga poured in 31 points, including 6 of 9 three-pointers, while collecting 8 rebounds and dishing 8 assists in 32 minutes of play. His leadership helped Hungary lead by steady if small leads from tipoff to buzzer. David Vojvoda added 18 points for the winners, while Tomas Satoransky had 18 points for the Czech Republic. Both teams now have 1-2 records. In a game of swings that came down to the wire, Croatia stayed perfect in Group C by surviving 72-76 against neighboring Montenegro. Bojan Bogdanovic scored 23 points for the winners and Dario Saric 14, while Cedevita Zagreb teammates Roko Ukic and Marko Tomas had 9 each. Tyrese Rice of FC Barcelona Lassa led Montenegro's comeback and finished with 22 points, while Bojan Dubljevic of Valencia Basket had 17 and 11 rebounds. Croatia started the game leading 3-18 but had its first hint of Montenegro's resolve as the score tightened to 20-25. On the first shot of the fourth quarter, Croatia led by 12 points, 52-64, but Tyrese Rice sparked Montenegro with a three-pointer. His next one came with a free throw for a four-point play at 68-73 with 2:11 to play, and he added 2 free throws and a layup to make it 72-73 in the last minute. The only one to score after that was Saric, and in that way Croatia stayed unbeaten after three games while Montenegro is still searching for a victory. Spain continued to dominate like no other team in the tournament when it spanked host Romania 91-50 in the evening's last game. The visitors shook off a close 10 minutes to outscore Romania 49-16 in the second and third, by the end of which they led 70-35. Spain won without needing its leader, Pau Gasol, who rested. Juancho Hernangomez was the top scorer with 18 points, while his brother Willi grabbed 13 rebounds. Pierre Oriola of FC Barcelona Lassa and Marc Gasol scored 11 each and Joan Sastre of Valencia Basket added 10.
A couple of Latvian stars put their outsized talents on display to raise their team's record to 2-1 with a 97-92 decision against winless Great Britain. Kristaps Porzingis dropped 28 points to go with 8 rebounds for Latvia while Davis Bertans hit 7 of 8 three-pointers for 22 points. They got help from Janis Strelnieks of Olympiacos Piraeus, who combined 13 points with 9 assists, and Janis Timma of Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz, who had 11 points and 9 rebounds. A 39-34 game in the second quarter changed when Bertans and Porzingis blew up as Latvia kept rolling to an 84-55 advantage late in the third. Latvia kept its big men out even as Britain rallied to within 5 points, but free throws by Timma and Strelnieks in the last minute ended that threat. Russia tightened its grip on first place in Group D with a hard-fought 67-76 win over Belgium. Alexey Shved of Khimki Moscow Region led Russia with 20 points, while CSKA Moscow teammates Nikita Kurbanov and Andrey Vorontsevich added 10 points and 10 rebounds, respectively. Maxime De Zeeuw led Belgium with 15 points. Russia could not grab a lead until Shved's three-pointer at 15-17. Belgium later forced a few ties, the last at 35-35 just after halftime. Kurbanov and his CSKA Moscow teammate Semen Antonov gave Russia breathing space at 45-53, but Belgium was still within 62-67 with 3 minutes left on a layup by Jonathan Tabu of RETAbet Bilbao Basket. It took Shved, Vorontsevich and Dimitry Khvostov making 8 of 8 free throws in the last 2 minutes to finally put the win away. In the nightcap in Istanbul, Serbia faced down a home crowd and an inspired opponent to win 80-74 over Turkey. Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 10 of his team-high 17 points in the games last 5:20, after Turkey had rallied in front, shutting the door as quickly as it opened on the hosts. Stefan Jovic of FC Bayern Munich followed with 15 points and 9 assists, while his club teammate Vladimir Lucic pulled 9 rebounds for the winners. Melih Mahmutoglu of Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul continued his hot shooting for Turkey, scoring 19 points after hitting 3 of his 5 three-pointers in the fourth quarter. Cedi Osman followed him with 15 points. Serbia seized the lead early and led for three full quarters until Mahmutoglu and Osman buried back-to-back three-pointers at 57-59 midway through the fourth. Bogdanovic soon answered with back-to-back threes of his own plus an alley-oop basket to put Serbia in front 68-63. The long-distance shooting battle continued as Mahmutoglu hit another at 73-70, only to have Lucic immediately answer with the same shot, keeping Serbia in the clear. Serbia raised its record to 2-1 while Turkey fell to 1-2.