The US secured a spot in the round of 16 at the FIBA World Cup with a dominant 109-81 victory over Greece in a Group C clash, while China suffered another setback, facing an 89-69 defeat against South Sudan.
In its first game last Saturday, the US overcame a 10-point deficit to claim a comfortable 99-72 win against New Zealand. Greece also had a smooth victory, defeating Jordan 92-71, reports Xinhua.
The US has won four of its last five encounters with Greece in the World Cup, with Greece’s only victory occurring in the 2006 semifinals. These teams also met in the most recent tournament, where the US won by a 16-point margin.
Without key player Giannis Antetokounmpo, the European side was clearly outmatched. The US outscored Greece 50-37 in the first half and continued their dominance afterwards.
Austin Reaves, shooting guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, earned his second consecutive MVP award with 15 points, five rebounds, and six assists.
In Group C, New Zealand needed overtime to overcome Jordan 95-87. Rondae Hollis Jefferson scored a game-high 39 points, but it wasn’t enough to prevent Jordan from suffering its second consecutive defeat.
Spain advanced to the next round alongside the US by defeating Brazil 96-78, extending their superior head-to-head record.
In a tight Group G game, Cote d’Ivoire secured a 71-69 victory against Iran for its debut win in the World Cup after being runner-up in FIBA AfroBasket 2021.
China faced another setback in Group B, losing 105-63 to Serbia in its opening match, as South Sudan achieved its first-ever tournament win, defeating China 89-69.
Li Kaier bounced back from his lackluster performance in the first match by scoring 22 points. South Sudan had five players scoring in double digits, with Carlik Jones leading with 21 points.
“They are an experienced team with many ball handlers who know how to capitalize on opportunities on the court,” commented China’s head coach Aleksandar Djordjevic on the winning team. Djordjevic further added, “They hit crucial three-pointers towards the end of our defense, cutting us off even in the final seconds. Their shooting is quite impressive.”
Group C favorite Serbia maintained its winning streak with a 94-77 victory over Puerto Rico, with Nikola Jovic and Bogdan Bogdanovic contributing 17 points each.
Luka Doncic, after a stellar 37-point performance in the opening game, continued to shine with 34 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists, leading Slovenia to a dominant 88-67 win over Georgia in a Group F match.
In another match, Cape Verde celebrated its first-ever World Cup victory by defeating Venezuela 81-75.