USA continue FIBA World Cup unbeaten run, Serbia suffer first loss

USA continue FIBA World Cup unbeaten run, Serbia suffer first loss

Guangzhou: Team USA continued its unbeaten run while Serbia lost its first match of the tournament against Spain in the second round of the 2019 FIBA World Cup. Despite the best efforts of NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who scored 15 points and had 13 rebounds, the USA beat Greece 69-53 in Group K, putting Greece on the brink of elimination. The USA smashed Brazil 89-73 in their final second round game, while an 84-77 win over the Czech Republic was not enough to keep Greece in the competition, as they had needed a 12-point winning margin. Like Antetokounmpo, China's leading shooter Yi Jianlian, also left the World Cup disappointed. China were defeated by Poland and Venezuela in the first round, seeing it drop into the tournament's lower classification round. Although the host nation edged South Korea 77-73 in its first classification match, China's hopes of Olympic qualification rested on either beating Nigeria or hoping the Philippines could beat Iran. However, there was no miracle, as China lost to Nigeria despite Yi's game-high 27 points, and Iran crushed the Philippines to take Asia's sole qualifying spot for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Despite being the top team in FIBA's Power Rankings, Serbia suffered its first loss of the tournament, going down 81-69 to Spain in its final second round game. This means Serbia will now face a tough quarterfinal match against Argentina, with the possibility of a semifinal clash against the USA. Spain have won all five games in the tournament so far, and now face Poland in the quarterfinals. European powerhouses Lithuania didn't make it to the quarterfinals after a controversial 78-75 defeat to France, in which the referees missed a goaltending call in the game's final seconds. "During the last free-throw attempt by Lithuanian player No. 17 with 30.8 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, French player No. 27 touched the rim while the ball was in contact with it. The correct decision should have been to call a basket interference and one point awarded for Lithuania," a FIBA statement read. Australia has also won all five games so far, and will now take on the tournament's surprise package the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals.


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