Monday games saw several Turkish Airlines EuroLeague stars, current and former, shine to lead their teams to victory, and a place in the next phase.
Poland pulled out an improbable 76-79 overtime win over the host nation China, clinching the top place in Group A and qualifying for the next round in the process. China seemed in control during a free-throw battle at the end of regulation, but Zenit St Petersburg’s Mateusz Ponitka made a steal on an inbound pass then split free throws to tie the game at 72-72, sending it to overtime. In the extra session, Damian Kulig drove for a reverse layup with 10.8 seconds to go, as Poland prevailed. Ponitka finished with 25 points and 9 rebounds, while A.J. Slaughter scored 22 in victory. Yi Jianlian had 24 points for the hosts, which dropped to 1-1. Earlier on Monday, Venezuela managed to get its first win in this group and bumped its record to 1-1 by defeating Ivory Coast, 87-71. Heissler Guillent led the winners with his 28 points including 5 of 10 threes. Deon Thompson of Unicaja Malaga had 15 points and 5 rebounds in defeat for Ivory Coast, that was trailing 49-32 at the break. Ivory Coast dropped to 0-2.
Argentina and Russia secured their respective places in the next round, each improving to a 2-0 record in Group B. Argentina stayed undefeated thanks to an 81-94 win over Nigeria, which dropped to 0-2 in the standings. Veteran EuroLeague former star Luis Scola led the winners with 23 points and 10 rebounds, while Patricio Garino of KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz added 17 points. A trio of Real Madrid faces rounded up the win: Facu Campazzo posted 14 points and 8 assists, Nico Laprovittola added 11 and Gabriel Deck posted 10. Micheal Eric of Baskonia only played 85 seconds for Nigeria, and he did not score any points, but pulled 2 rebounds and dished 1 assist in that time. A 26-15 second quarter allowed Nigeria to lead during some portions of the game, but Argentina came back strong and managed to control the game, that was closed in style by Campazzo with a three and then a steal and another three almost at the buzzer. Later on Monday, Russia used a big third quarter to pull away to a 73-87 win over Korea. CSKA Moscow duo Andrey Vorontsevich and Nikita Kurbanov were everywhere in the victory, with Vorontsevich collecting 13 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists, while Kurbanov had 8 points, 9 assists and 7 rebounds. Vitaly Fridzon of Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar also netted 13 points in the victory, as Russia will next face Argentina in a battle for the all-important first place in the group. Korea and Nigeria are both eliminated.
Spain defeated Puerto Rico 63-73 to lock the first place in Group C and booked its place in the next round. It was a tight contest for two and a half quarters before Real’s Sergio Llull strung together 8 points late in the third quarter to cap a 0-12 run and open a 43-57 lead, the largest of the game. Spain never looked back as Marc Gasol had 19 points, and Ricky Rubio collected 17 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists in the victory. Gian Clavell had 13 points for Puerto Rico, which dropped to 1-1. Tunisia registered its first-ever World Cup win, a 79-67 decision over Iran. Tunisia improved to 1-1 in Group C and will play against Puerto Rico for a place in the next round, while Iran dropped to 0-2 and is eliminated. Former Real player Salah Mejri led the winners with a huge double-double of 22 points and 15 rebounds. Michael Roll of AX Armani Exchange Milan netted 16 points for Tunisia which rolled in the first quarter, 29-19, but needed a 12-2 run late in the fourth quarter to secure this victory.
Italy and Serbia stayed undefeated in Group D on Monday, both improving to 2-0 and securing their place in the next phase. In the morning action, Italy had a huge 92-61 win over Angola. After 10 minutes the Italian squad was already up by 25-11 and never looked behind. Marco Belinelli led the winners with 17 points while Daniel Hackett of CSKA Moscow and Jeff Brooks of AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan chipped in with 11 points apiece as the latter also added 11 rebounds to his tally. A 44-21 score at the halftime break made sure that Italy would take the win especially thanks to a 12 of 30 shooting from beyond the arc. Serbia won even bigger, thrashing Philippines 126-67. Serbia jumped out to a double-digit lead in the first quarter, led 62-35 at halftime, and kept increasing the margin throughout the second half. Former EuroLeague MVP Nemanja Bjelica had 20 points to pace Serbia, which had seven scorers in double figures. Among them, All-EuroLeague guard Vasilije Micic of Anadolu Efes Istanbul with 11 points and 7 assists, as well as Olympiacos Piraeus center Nikola Milutinov with 10 points. Jaymar Perez netted 16 for the Philippines, which just like Angola, dropped to 0-2.