Thursday, September 2, 2010
Serbia upsets Argentina at worlds
ESPN.com news services
KAYSERI, Turkey -- Aleksandar Rasic made four free throws in the last 11 seconds Thursday to help Serbia upset top-ranked Argentina 84-82 and win Group A at the FIBA world championship.
Argentina captain and Houston Rockets forward Luis Scola sank two free throws with 38 seconds left to make it 77-77, but Serbia forward Dusko Savanovic hit a big 3-pointer with 18 seconds remaining.
Savanovic led Serbia with 19 points and Oklahoma City Thunder center Nenad Krstic added 18. Krstic played his second game after a three-game suspension for a brawl against Greece.
"If we can beat Argentina, we can beat anyone," Savanovic said.
Scola scored 32 points, his fourth straight game of 30 or more. He is Argentina's all-time leading scorer at the worlds with 357 points. Ernesto "Finito" Gehrmann scored 331 points in the 1967 and 1974 events.
Both teams finished with 4-1 records.
Scola had 10 points in the fourth quarter, but Krstic and Savanovic combined for 22 while battling Argentina's top player. By bringing in Rasic near the end, Serbia made sure it had its strongest free-throw shooter on the floor.
Guard Milos Teodosic had the most playing time in the Serbian team with 28 minutes, and added 16 points. Serbia outrebounded Argentina 43-32.
"This was probably the best game so far," Serbia coach Dusan Ivkovic said. "We trailed 20-7 at the start and we came back to finish the first quarter only two behind."
Carlos Delfino of the Milwaukee Bucks played the entire 40 minutes and finished with 13 points, but none in the fourth quarter for Argentina. Scola played 35 minutes and made 12 of 19 shots.
"We have learned a lot from Argentina in the last 10 years, especially their fighting spirit," Ivkovic said. "We also learned that you can't relax even for a second against Argentina and their veterans."
Argentina coach Sergio Hernandez said: "Two of the best teams in the world showed great talent and big character and personality. It was a tough but fair game."
Spain 89, Canada 67
Spain finished Group D play with consecutive strong games, including a rout of Canada in Izmir, Turkey.
The defending champion started slowly but won its final two games by a total of 56 points. Spain will finish as either the six-nation group's second- or third-seeded team going into the knockout rounds. The Spanish lost to France in the first game.
Canada didn't win any games.
Rudy Fernandez and Fran Vasquez each had 19 points, while Ricky Rubio had eight points and eight assists.
Slovenia 65, Iran 60
Goran Dragic of the Phoenix Suns scored 18 points, and Slovenia surged into the elimination stage in Istanbul.
The Slovenians (4-1) won their last three games after losing to the United States to take the No. 2 seed from Group B. They will face Australia, the No. 3 seed from Group A, on Sunday.
Miha Zupan added 15 points for Slovenia, while Sani Becirovic and Bostjan Nachbar each scored 10.
Hamed Haddadi of the Memphis Grizzlies finished a strong tournament by scoring 15 points for Iran, the Asian champion that went 1-4 in its first appearance in the world championship. Arsalan Kazemi had 13 points and 14 rebounds.
Lithuania 84, Lebanon 66
In Izmir, Lithuania ended its Group D stage campaign with a 5-0 record.
Lebanon (1-4) already has been eliminated, its fate in the six-team group sealed with a loss Wednesday to Spain.
With the top spot in Group D secured, Lithuania gave its reserves nearly as much playing time as its starters, and they outscored Lebanon's reserves 24-10 in the first half as Lithuania took a 39-32 lead.
Rony Fahed scored 19 points to lead Lebanon in the teams' first meeting in a major international tournament.
Australia 76, Angola 55
Patty Mills had 11 points for Australia, which broke open the game with an 11-0 run in the second quarter as it clinched third place in Group A in Kayseri.
No player scored in double figures for Angola, which played without top scorer Olimpio Cipriano.
Ivory Coast 88, Puerto Rico 79
Charles Abouo scored 19 points to lead Ivory Coast to the win in Ankara, Turkey. However, China advanced to the knockout round on a point differential ahead of the Ivory Coast and Puerto Rico in Group C.
Mohamed Kone had a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds and Mamadou Lamizana added 17 points for the Ivory Coast. Jose Barea scored 19 points for Puerto Rico.
Turkey 87, China 40
Oguz Savas scored 20 points as Turkey, which already had won Group C, won in Ankara. Turkey had a 20-0 scoring run to lead 39-13 at the break. Omer Asik's slam dunk gave Turkey a 41-point lead in the final seconds of the third quarter. Semih Erden widened the gap to 47 points with 50 seconds to go in the game.
Turkey (5-0) plays fourth-place New Zealand of Group D in the knockout stage in Istanbul.
Russia 73, Greece 69
In Ankara, Timofey Mozgov scored 18 points as Russia advance to the knockout round.
Russia (4-1) finished second in Group C behind Turkey.
Andrey Vorontsevich's dunk with 4 seconds to go in the third quarter increased Russia's lead to 16 points. The game was tied 30-30 at halftime.
Sofoklis Schortsanitis scored 16 points for Greece (3-2), after having missed two games because of a suspension following a brawl with Serbia.
Brazil 92, Croatia 74
Marcelo Machado scored 18 points and Anderson Varejao grabbed 12 rebounds in his longest stint at the world championship as Brazil clinched third place in Group B in Istanbul.
Brazil (3-2) bounced back from a pair of narrow losses to earn a meeting with South American rival Argentina on Tuesday. Brazil coach Ruben Magnano guided the Argentines to the 2004 Olympic gold medal.
Leandro Barbosa added 17 points and Alex Garcia 15 for the Brazilians, who had lost by two the United States and by three to Slovenia in their last two outings. They took control by hitting 7-of-10 shots in the second quarter, ensuring they wouldn't have another one go to the wire.
Varejao, who missed the first three games while recovering from a sprained right ankle, started and played 24 minutes Thursday, providing the usual energy on the backboards that he gives the Cleveland Cavaliers.
New Zealand 82, France 70
In Izmir, Kirk Penney scored 25 points to help New Zealand surge into the knockout round. New Zealand has won three straight games after losing its first two to clinch third place in Group D.
Mika Vukona finnished with 15 points for New Zealand, which built a 39-25 halftime lead by hitting 8 of 17 3-point attempts.
Yannick Bokolo had 13 points and Nando de Colo added 10 for France, which finished fourth after losing its last two games.
Germany 91, Jordan 73
Tibor Pleiss scored 23 points in a match between two eliminated teams in Kayseri.
Lucca Staiger had 16 points and Jan Jagla 14 for Germany (2-3), which finished fifth in Group A.
Osama Daghles had 22 points for Jordan (0-5).
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.