Six more teams have punched their tickets to the next round of the 2019 FIBA World Cup after Tuesday night’s basketball action.
Team USA, France, Australia, Lithuania, The Dominican Republic have all assured their spots in the next round of action, after recording victories on Tuesday night.
One of the more exciting surprises of the night was brought to us by Brazil as they edged out Greece 79-78. The stunning upset may have been surprising to some pundits, but not to Brazilian veteran Anderson Varejao, who was beaming with positive energy as he put up 22 points and nine rebounds to pace the yellow shirts.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was noticeably quiet in this important game as he was just able to muster 13 points in 28 and a half minutes on the floor. Teammate Giorgios Printezis continued with his strong play and lead the Greek squad with 20 points. Kostas Sloukas was fouled in the dying seconds of the game and was awarded three free throws. Unfortunately, he missed the last one and was unable to force overtime, allowing Brazil to mathematically advance into the next round of the FIBA World Cup in the group stage.
Greece was not the only international powerhouse to struggle on Tuesday night. Team USA was pushed to the limit by Turkey. Ersan Ilyasova missed a last-ditch 3-point shot at the final buzzer and the two free throws made by USA’s Khris Middleton were just enough to get Team USA the victory, 93-92 and go 2-0 early in the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
Kemba Walker posted a well-rounded game for the US team, notching 14 points, six rebounds, seven assists and three steals. Ersan Ilyasova’s heart was broken with that all-important missed trey, especially after putting up a laudable effort with 23 points and 14 boards.
France’s win over Jordan was nowhere near the nail-biters that Brazil and the USA went through. The French cruised to an easy 64-103 blowout win over Jordan. Rudy Gobert led France with a 16-point, 13-rebound double-double with two blocks.
Lithuania asserted their dominance in the post and were able to easily defeat Canada 92-69. A balanced attack by Lithuania more than adequately offset the 24-point explosion by Canada’s Kyle Wiltjer.
Both Australia and New Zealand recorded wins. The former Oceanic, now-Asian categorized teams managed to defeat their respective opponents. Australia downed Senegal 81-68, while the Tall Blacks came up with an upset and beat Montenegro 83-93.
Not all Asian teams share the same good fortunes, as Japan stumbled at the hands of the Czech Republic 76-89. Rui Hachimura looked sharp for Japan with 21 points, six rebounds and four dimes. Sadly, his heroics were not enough to match the output of Blake Schilb and Jaromir Bohacik, who each put up 22 points of their own for the winners.
Last but not least, The Dominican Republic narrowly edged out Germany 68-70 after clamping down on defense as the clock wound down. Victor Liz and Eloy Vargas paced the DR team with 17 and 16 points, respectively.
Dennis Schroder paced the Germans with 20 points.
Little by little, the better teams are separating themselves for the rest of the pack at the 2019 FIBA World Cup. As always in global competition, the creme will rise to the top.