Stars of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and 7DAYS EuroCup were among the protagonists on the fourth day of the FIBA World Cup in China.
The United States narrowly escaped a stern challenge from Turkey to record a 93-92 victory that sends it into the next round. Turkey missed 4 free throws with a 1-point lead in the final 10 seconds of the overtime period before Khris Middleton sank a pair from the line with 2.1 seconds left that put the Americans up for good. Ersan Ilyasova back-rimmed a three at the buzzer that would have won it for Turkey. The United States led by as many as 15 in the second quarter and seemed poised to roll from that point, but Turkey battled to within 47-42 at the break and tie it in the third. Ilyasova starred late with the game-tying score and then a go-ahead tip-in with 12 seconds remaining in regulation, however, Jayson Taytum was fouled shooting a three-pointer in the final second and made 2 of the 3 resulting free throws to force overtime. Middleton paced five American scorers in double figures with 15 points and Kemba Walker added 14 points and 7 assists. Ilyasova finished with 23 points and 14 rebounds and Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul guard Melih Mahmutoglu added 18 points in defeat. The result leaves Thursday’s Turkey vs. Czech Republic game do-or-die for both teams to each the round of 16. Earlier Tuesday, the Czech Republic bested Japan 76-89 to get its first victory in the World Cup. Japan remains winless after two games. Former EuroCup champion Blake Schilb led the winners with 22 points including 6-of-7 three-point shooting, and Tomas Satoransky, another familiar face for EuroLeague fans, added 15. For Japan, Rui Hachimira led the team with 21 points.
Brazil advanced to the next round with a down-to-the-wire 79-78 victory over Greece, which will now need to defeat New Zealand in their last Group F game on Thursday. A wild finish saw Georgios Printezis of Olympiacos Piraeus tie the score 76-76 with 35.5 seconds left on a five-point possession due to an unsportsmanlike foul. Even though Brazil went back ahead 76-79, Kostas Sloukas of Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul had 3 free throws to tie with 2.5 seconds left, but could only make the first 2. Anderson Varejao, a EuroLeague champion in 2003 with FC Barcelona, led the winners with 22 points, including the key basket at 78-76 with 14 seconds left. Printezis scored 14 points in his first 7 minutes on the floor and led Greece with 20 total. Nick Calathes of Panathinaikos OPAP Athens added 16 and a team-high 7 rebounds. Earlier on Tuesday, New Zealand got its first win by 83-93 over Montenegro as Corey Webster led the Kiwis with 25 points. Tai Webster of Galatasaray Doga Sigorta Istanbul added 11 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists. Nikola Ivanovic of Buducnost VOLI was the best player for the losers with his 18 points and Bojan Dubljevic of Valencia Basket was the perfect partner with a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds. New Zealand dominated in the first half, but in the third quarter, Montenegro managed to jump ahead, finishing it with a 67-66 advantage. However, a 0-9 run after that by the Kiwis allowed them to take their first win.
France marched into the second round with a 64-103 rout of Jordan, which was eliminated with the loss. The French scored the final 14 points of the second quarter to stake out a 33-50 advantage, stretched it into the 20s early in the third quarter and coasted the rest of the way. Former EuroLeague MVP Nando De Colo of Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul dominated with 19 points and 8 assists and Rudy Gobert posted 16 points and 13 boards to lead the French. Dar Tucker netted 20 in defeat. The Dominican Republic is also through to the next stage thanks to its 68-70 victory over Germany. Robin Benzing gave Germany a 61-60 edge midway through the fourth quarter, but 4 points from Eloy Vargas soon had the Dominican Republic ahead. It was a one-possession game in the final minute, but Germany missed its last three shots, including a three-pointer by FC Bayern Munich’s Danilo Barthel at the buzzer that would have won the game. Victor Liz led the winners with 17 points, while Dennis Schroeder paced Germany with 20 points plus 7 assists.
Lithuania punched its ticket to the second round running away from Canada 92-69 in Dongguan. Canada was eliminated and Australia joined Lithuania in advancing thanks to the result. Edgaras Ulanovas of Zalgiris Kaunas made 6 of 6 two-pointers for 13 points as Lithuania staked early double-digit leads and finished the first half ahead 46-36. He was Lithuania's top scorer with 15 points at game's end, while his Zalgiris teammate, Lukas Lekavicius, and Mantas Kalnietis of Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar added 11 each. Lithuania dominated the boards, outrebounding Canada by 46 to 27 with Jonas Valanciunas and Domantas Sabonis getting 8 each. Canada got 24 points from Kyle Wiltjer. Australia set up its qualification by staying unbeaten at 2-0 with an 81-68 victory over Senegal earlier on Tuesday. Senegal was eliminated with the loss. Patty Mills had 22 points and former EuroLeague star Joe Ingles 17 as the main guns for the Aussie team. For Senegal, Maurice Ndour of Valencia Basket and Youssou Ndoye of Nanterre 92 were two of the best players with 13 points each. Mouhammad Faye of Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade was right behind them with 12.