In Day 2 of the FIBA World Cup 2014 a few teams remain hot, garnering back to back wins and riding their momentum from Day 1. Seven teams are still undefeated with 2-0 records and the day’s action was highlighted by a showdown between two European gold-medal contenders from Group A. Here is a recap of the games that took place.
Spain was able to get an easy 91-54 win over Egypt for their second straight victory and is one of the two unbeaten teams in Group A. Serge Ibaka, a naturalized Spanish player from the Democratic Republic of Congo, led his team with 18 points and eight rebounds. Spain opened up the game with a 26-10 explosive first quarter and continued to build on their commanding lead from that point on. Egypt’s Ibrahim El Gammal was the only player on his team to score in double figures with 16 points. Egypt remains winless with a 0-2 record.
Brazil is starting the tournament strong, joining Spain with an identical, perfect 2-0 slate. They defeated Iran 79-50 to keep the top-rated Asian team from logging their first victory of the competition. Brazil executed an unselfish offensive strategy as many of their players got in on the action. Alex Ribeiro delivered an efficient game for Brazil as the team’s top scorer for the game, notching 12 points, three rebounds, three steals. Mohammad Jamshidi and Mahdi Kamrami were Iran’s top performers with 13 and 11 points respectively.
The game between Serbia and France went down the wire, with France squeezing by their opponents at the free throw line to come up with the 74-73 win. The nail-biter of a game fell on the shoulders of France’s Joffrey Lauvergne who was sent to the line after being fouled as he drove to the hoop with seconds remaining on the clock. Serbia was up by one, but Lauvergne was able to sink both pressure-filled shots and give his team the W. He was also the team’s top scorer 19 points. Miroslav Raduljica led the Serbian squad with 21 points and seven rebounds in their heartbreaking loss.
Greece is now on a two-game winning streak thanks to their 82-70 triumph over the Philippine team. Greek forward Georgios Printezis was a beast in the low post, leading his team to victory with 25 points and eight boards. The Greeks were to big and too fast for their opponents in this match and were able to withstand a final quarter push from the Filipinos. The Philippines now sinks to a 0-2 hole in the tournament. They were led by Andray Blatche, their naturalized player, who finished with a double-double, scoring 21 points while grabbing 14 rebounds.
The Senegalese team (1-1) had much to celebrate as they managed to claim their first win in the competition since 1998. The team’s energy and hustle paid off as they handed Puerto Rico their second straight loss in as many games, sending them into the group’s cellar to keep the Philippine team company. It was an impressive two-man game by Gorgui Dieng who took care of business on the inside 18 points and 13 rebounds, and Mouhammad Faye who attacked Puerto Rico from the outside, knocking down 4-of-5 shots from downtown. Their performances overcame the strong outings by Puerto Rico’s Renaldo Balkman and Jose Juan Barea who put up 21 and 15 points respectively.
A more composed Croatian team hit the floor in Day 2 after their close, overtime scare against the Philippines in Day 1. They played better team basketball and they were rewarded with a 90-85 win. Five of their players scored in double figures as everyone shared the burden of putting up points on the scoreboard. Argentina’s Luis Scola finished with a game-high 30 points, but he could not single-handedly carry his team against a focused Croat squad.
The Turkish team gave Team USA a big scare in this game. Turkey actually managed to mount a five point lead (40-35) at the end of the first half. USA came alive after the break and were led by Kenneth Faried’s assault on the basket from the inside. He led his team with a game-high 22 points, making 11-0f-14 shots from the field. His spirited play got his team back on the right track, taking them up by six points heading into the fourth quarter. From there, tide had definitely turned as the Americans outscored the Turks 32-17 in the final period to finish with the 98-77 win. Cenk Akyol led Turkey with 12 points. This is Turkey’s first loss of the competition and is now 1-1
Finland was able to bounce back from their 114-55 Day 1 massacre at the hands of Team USA. They secured their first win of the tournament with an 81-76 victory over Ukraine. Both teams now have identical 1-1 records. Shawn Huff caught fire from three-point range (5-8) to lead his team with 23 points and eight rebounds. A key moment for Finland was when they were able to establish control of the game with a strong rally in the third quarter. Eugene Jeter, a naturalized Ukrainian player from the USA, led his team 24 points and nine assists.
The Dominican Republic (1-1) recorded their first win after defeating New Zealand 76-63. Francisco Garcia was a big factor in the victory with 29 points and six rebounds. He also shot an impressive 5-of-7 from beyond the arc. The New Zealand team was out-rebounded by their opponents 37-26. A strong fourth quarter was able to seal the win for the Dominican squad. New Zealand was led by Thomas Abercrombie with 22 points.
Lithuania managed to keep their unblemished record intact with a 75-62 win over Angola. This Angola’s first loss of the competition and now has a 1-1 record. Lithuania outscored their opponents 25-14 in a massive run in the third quarter and managed to hold Angola to just 13 points in the final period to secure the win. Lithuania’s Jonas Valanciunas led had a solid outing with 11 points and 13 rebounds, but was only 3-7 from the free throw line that night. Donatas Montiejunas was the team’s top scorer with 12 points. Eduardo Mingas led Angola 14 points and nine rebounds.
Slovenia is another undefeated team in Group D. They looked good in their 89-68 win over Mexico. Slovenia’s Dragic brothers, Zoran and Goran put on a clinic as they systematically dismantled Mexico’s defense. Zoran scored 22 points and was a perfect 4-4 from deep, while Goran handled the point guard duties for the team with 18 points and six assists. Mexico’s Gustavo Ayon met with little resistance in the paint and was able to pour in 23 points of his own on a perfect 9-9 shooting from the field. He did need a bit more support from his teammates in order to slow down Slovenia’s frenetic backcourt duo.
Australia destroyed South Korea as they cruised to an easy 89-55 win. They were the more efficient team from three-point range, knocking down eight of their 14 shots from deep. South Korea, on the other hand, struggled to keep pace making only 5-of-25 shots from downtown. Joe Ingles led the Aussie team with 17 points, while his teammate Aron Baynes recorded a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Australia now sits in the middle of the Group-D pack with a 1-1 record, while South Korea still has to claim its first win in the competition.