Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Serbia moves on to quarterfinals
LODZ, Poland -- World champion Spain and Serbia clinched the final two spots in the quarterfinals at the European basketball championship on Wednesday.
Spain routed Poland 90-68 and Serbia used a late run to defeat Lithuania 89-79.
Spain never trailed, and guard Juan Carlos Navarro scored 23 points, and Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol added 20.
American-born point guard David Logan led Poland with 20 points.
"We had a good performance today," Gasol said. "We are growing as a team and we are very much alive in the tournament."
Spain, looking for its first European title after finishing runner-up six times, faces a stiff test in the quarterfinals on Thursday against France. Led by San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker, the French team cruised through the first two rounds undefeated.
"It will be a tough game against France but we have to go through them to get anything done here," Gasol said. "We very much look forward to it."
Point guard Milos Teodosic scored 20 points and had 12 assists to lead five Serbian players in double figures. Center Nenad Krstic, who plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder, had 16 points and four rebounds.
"It was a very tough game for us, but it's a great win and we just need to forget about this and prepare for tomorrow's game," Krstic said.
Serbia moves on to play defending champion Russia in the quarterfinals.
The loss dropped Lithuania, a traditional power in the sport, to 1-6 and last place in Group F. Coach Ramunas Butautas announced after the loss he was stepping down as coach.
Slovenia nabbed the top spot in Group F with a 69-67 victory over Turkey, which lost for the first time in the tournament.
Turkey had a shot to win it at the buzzer, but guard Engin Atsur's open 3-pointer from the corner bounced out as time expired and Slovenia hung on for the win.
Forward Bostjan Nachbar led Slovenia with 16 points; forward Ersan Ilyasova scored 16 for Turkey.