The second round of play at the Basketball World Cup in China came to a close for eight teams on Sunday with half of them setting up quarterfinals dates and half completing their participation. Stars for the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and 7DAYS EuroCup played key roles in many of those game.
Argentina left no doubts as it trounced Poland 65-91 in Foshan to remain undefeated and finish first in Group I at 5-0. The South Americans will face Serbia in the quarterfinals. Poland, which placed second in the group at 4-1, will take on Spain in the round of eight. Legendary big man and former All-EuroLeaguer Luis Scola starred for the winners with 21 points and Marcos Delia added 12. The Real Madrid duo of Facu Campazzo and Nicolas Laprovittola combined for 14 points, 8 rebounds, 13 assists and 5 steals from the point guard position. Argentina led by 6 after 10 minutes and 15 at halftime before ending all doubts with a 14-28 third quarter. A.J. Slaughter paced Poland with 16 points. Earlier, Russia secured a ninth-place finish by seeing off Venezuela 60-69. Andrey Vorontsevich stood tall with 17 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists and his CSKA Moscow teammate Nikita Kurbanov posted 12 points and 8 boards to lead the Russian attack. The teams headed into halftime tied at 27-27. Venezuela started the third quarter on fire to storm to a 36-29 advantage, but four different Russian players drained threes in a 6-19 tear to finish the third quarter and they never trailed again. Michael Carrera paced Venezuela with 19 points in defeat. Venezuela finished the tournament in 13th place.
Spain held on against Serbia for an 81-69. victory to advance to a quarterfinals showdown with Poland. Spain finished atop Group J in Wuhan with a 5-0 record, while handing Serbia its first loss. Serbia will meet Argentina in the next stage. Former EuroLeague champion Ricky Rubio peppered the nets for 19 points to lead Spain, FC Barcelona forward Victor Claver produced 14 points on near-perfect shooting plus 7 rebounds and 3 steals and Marc Gasol added 11 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists. Spain had no answer for Bogdan Bogdanovic, who dominated with 26 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists, but Coach Sasa Djordjevic’s side had no other player with more than 8 points. Serbia’s star center Nikola Jokic was ejected in the third quarter. Serbia got off to a good start and led 13-20 after 10 minutes, but Sain started the second quarter with a 13-2 charge in which Claver and former EuroLeague MVP Sergio Llull of Real Madrid each scored twice. The lead grew to 45-37 at halftime and peaked at 21 in the third quarter.
Serbia rallied late, but never got close enough to threaten the outcome. Italy finished its participation in the tournament with an 89-94 overtime victory over Puerto Rico to clinch ninth place overall. Both teams came into the game having exhausted their chances of reaching the quarterfinals, but nonetheless played an entertaining contest. Marco Belinelli led the Italians with 27 points, Danilo Gallinari scored 22 and Germani Brescia Leonessa’s Awudu Abass added 14 points and 8 rebounds. Renaldo Balkman scored 14 to lead Puerto Rico. The North American side controlled the early going and led 46-26 at halftime. Italy turned the game upside down with a 1-19 fourth-quarter charge, however, Puerto Rico regained its composure and Angel Rodriguez’s layup tied it 83-83 in the final minute and that was the score at the end of regulation. In the extra session, David Huertas missed a three to tie it with 19 seconds remaining and Belinelli iced the game from the free-throw line.