Half of the quarterfinals matchups in the 2019 FIBA World Cup are now set after the conclusion of second-round games on Sunday.
In a clash between two Titans of the tournament, Spain utilized some impressive, smothering defense to defeat Serbia on Sunday 81-69.
Serbia came out strong to start the game and set up a seven-point lead at the end of the first quarter. In the second, Spain stormed back and kicked up their defense up several notches.
Led by the strong play of Ricky Rubio, Spain swung the game in their favor as they took the lead, up by eight at the end of the first half.
The second half saw Spain stay dominant. But things turned from bad to worse for Serbia after they lost Nikola Jokic to an ejection after the big man was called for two technical fouls.
From Serbia’s side, only Bogdan Bogdanovic was able to crack the double-digit scoring mark with 24 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Everyone else had trouble getting in the groove of the offense, thanks to Spain’s strong D.
The aforementioned Rubio paced the Spaniards with 19 points, five rebounds and four assists. Victor Claver added 14 points, while Marc Gasol chipped in 11 of his own.
At 5-0 now, Spain officially claims the top spot of Group J. Serbia (4-1) is still guaranteed to advance.
After Argentina’s 65-91 blowout of Poland on Sunday, they claimed Group I and we’re now in for a Serbian-Argentinian showdown in the FIBA World Cup quarterfinals. Poland will face Spain on their side of their bracket.
Luis Scola powered Argentina to this convincing win on the shoulders of his 21 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Poland committed 23 turnovers in this game, compared to just 14 by Argentina. That was a key factor in the game. Argentina was able to maximize its extra opportunities and convert them into points on the board.