US, Spain open World Cup with comfortable wins
By David Hein ,AFP Monday, September 1, 2014, 12:03 am TWN
SEVILLE, Spain -- Defending champions United States and hosts Spain both breezed to comfortable victories on Saturday during the first day of the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
Eight players scored at least nine points, led by Klay Thompson's 18, as USA blasted Finland 114-55 to start the defence of their crown from 2010. DeMarcus Cousins added nine points and 10 rebounds for the Americans in Group C in Bilbao.
Finland, who got 12 points from Shawn Huff, scored just two points in the second quarter and never challenged.
Spain got 33 points from Pau Gasol and 15 points and 10 rebounds from Marc Gasol in a dominant 90-60 win over Iran in Group A in Granada.
Group A also saw a mild surprise as wild card recipients Brazil knocked off 2013 European champions France 65-63 as Marcelo Huertas paced the winners with 16 points.
Without NBA star Tony Parker, France could not find their offense despite 15 points from Boris Diaw.
In the first Group A game, Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 23 points as Serbia breezed past Egypt 85-64.
A Balkan team that had problems with a supposed minnow was Croatia, who survived a fighting Philippines and won 81-78 in overtime in Group B in Seville.
Bojan Bogdanovic led Croatia with 26 points, including four big free throws in the final minute of overtime.
Andray Blatche collected 28 points and 12 rebounds for the Asians, playing their first Worlds game since 1978.
Argentina eased past Puerto Rico 98-75 as veterans Luis Scola and Andres Nocioni combined for 38 points and 20 rebounds in Group B action.
The last Group B game saw Greece man-handle Senegal 87-64 with Kostas Kaimakoglou leading the way with 18 points.
In Group D, Lithuania got 19 points from Jonas Maciulis and 17 from Jonas Valanciunas in an 87-74 win over Mexico, who wasted a 21-point performance from Francisco Cruz.
Earlier in Group D in Gran Canaria, Slovenia beat Australia 90-80 as Goran Dragic put together 21 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Aron Baynes scored 21 points in the loss.
Also in Gran Canaria, Angola held off a comeback by South Korea and won 80-69 with Yannick Moreira picking up 16 points and 10 rebounds and Olimpio Cipriano scoring 16 points.
In addition to the Americans' comfortable win, Group C in Bilbao also saw Ukraine pick up their first ever win at a World Cup with a 72-62 victory against Dominican Republic as Pooh Jeter tallied 16 points.
Also in Group C, Turkey came back to beat New Zealand 76-73 thanks to 14 points, six rebounds and three assists from Emir Preldzic.
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