The FIBA World Cup quarterfinals are set after the end of second-phase group action on Monday. The do-or-die chase for the medals begins on Tuesday with Argentina vs. Serbia and Spain vs. Poland in their quarterfinals, and continues on Wednesday with USA vs. France and Australia vs. Czech Republic.
The United States eliminated Brazil with an 89-73 victory on Monday that allowed the Czech Rebuplic to claim second place and its first quarterfinals berth in modern times. USA broke a close game after halftime behind 16 points each from Kemba Walker and Miles Turner. Brazil, which needed to win in order to qualify, got 21 points from Vitor Benite and 14 each from Anderson Varejao and Leandrinho Barbosa. Earlier in the day, despite losing a thriller against Greece, the Czech Republic had put one foot in the quarters. Greece needed at least a 12-point win to stay in the running for the next round, so despite the 77-84 final score in its favor, it was the Czechs (3-2) who smiled at the end. Nick Calathes of Panathinaikos OPAP Athens led Greek to the victory with 27 points, including 5 of 9 threes. Kostas Sloukas of Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul added 16 and the Antetokounmpo brothers, Giannis and Thanasis, posted 12 and 11, respectively. For the Czech Republic, Jaromir Bohacik led the way with 25 points while Patrik Auda and Tomas Satoransky added 13 each.
Greece started the game with big motivation and managed to win the first period, 12-28. However, the Czechs not only made up the difference but managed to hit the locker rooms ahead at the break by a single point, 33-32. The Antetokounmpo brothers teamed up in the third period to launch Greece again. When Calathes fed Thanasis an alley-oop, the third period closed with Greece ahead by 8 points, 49-57. Early in the final quarter, Sloukas hit free throws at 49-61, giving Greece the 12-point difference it needed. But his team could not sustain it. With less than 6 minutes to go, Giannis Antetokounpo committed his fifth foul, and a few bad choices on offense by Greece were countered by Czech baskets to make it 63-70 with less than 4 minutes to go. Satoransky's floater in traffic made it 65-70 and consecutive misses by Greece were duly punished by Jaromir Bohacik's three from the corner at 68-70 with 2:12 to go. Calathes hit from deep to make Greece dream again, but Satoransky's tip-in followed by a jumper with less than one minute to go sealed the outcome of the group as the Czech Republic celebrated.
First place in Group L came down to the wire as 2 of 5 free throws made in the last 5 seconds was enough for Australia to claim a 98-100 win over France. Both teams came into the game with 4-0 records, having already qualified for the quarterfinals. Patty Mills, whose steal between those late free throws denied France a game-winning attempt, led the winners with 30 points and former EuroLeague champ Joe Ingles added 23. Evan Fournier scored 31 points for France and Nando De Colo of Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul had 26, including a game-tying two-pointer with 16 seconds left. In a game that could not impact the quarterfinals, Lithuania managed to pull a solid, 55-74 win against the Dominican Republic on Monday. Lukas Lekavicius of Zalgiris Kaunas led the winners with 19 points, the same amount as Jonas Valanciunas. Mindaugas Kuzminskas of Olympiacos Piraeus also added 12 points for the Lithuania, who finished third in Group L at 3-2 while the Dominicans end with a 2-3 record. A 10-19 run in the second quarter let Lithuania get to the break leading 24-38. Despite discreet 2-for-11 shooting from beyond the arc, Lithuania was always in command and never conceded the lead.