PRAGUE (FIBA U19 World Championship) - An undefeated trio of teams led a sextet of nations to book their spots in the Quarter-Finals of the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship with four countries still battling over the final two berths on the final day of Eight-Final Round action.
Day 7 in Prague promises plenty of great games as Group E leaders Spain take on Lithuania, who suffered their first loss of the tournament in a thriller against Croatia, while the United States and Serbia enter their showdown unbeaten and looking for the top spot.
Spain were tested for about 25 minutes against Argentina before eventually pulling away for a 74-58 victory to move to 5-0. Dario Brizuela put in 17 points while Guilllermo Hernangomez had 16 points and seven rebounds for Spain.
Argentina, who trailed just 40-39 at the mid-point of the third quarter, dropped to 1-4 despite Matias Bernardini scoring 18 points.
Lithuania trailed by 24 points and nearly pulled off another miracle comeback but Croatia held on for a 91-90 victory, thanks to Martin Junakovic's three-pointer with 7.7 seconds left.
Junakovic scored 27 points while Dario Saric collected 14 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and three blocks for Croatia, who improved to 4-1.
Marius Grigonis nailed five three-pointers and scored 31 points in leading the Lithuanian fight - one day after they came back from 22 points down in the third quarter to beat Canada.
Spain will take first place in Group E if they beat Lithuania on Wednesday. The Spaniards can also lose by five points and still finish first if Croatia beat Iran.
Canada, meanwhile, put themselves in a good spot for the quarters by blowing out Iran
95-57 to improve to 2-3. Trey Lyles paced five players in double figures with 18 points in the win.
Saleh Foroutannik and Sajjad Mashayekhi both scored 13 points but it was not enough to keep Iran from being eliminated with a 1-4 record.
The permutations for Group E's final Quarter-Finals spot are as follows:
- Canada are through to the Last Eight if they beat Argentina.
- Argentina would advance if they beat Canada and Iran lose to Croatia.
- Argentina would need a 25-point victory over Canada if Iran were to beat Croatia and create a three-way tie.
In Group F, the USA once again breezed to victory with five players scoring in double figures in a 94-51 beating of Australia.
Aaron Gordon led the way with 15 points while Justice Winslow added 10 points and 10 rebounds. The Americans have beaten their opponents by an average of 54 points.
Australia dropped to 2-3 despite Felix Kalau van Hofe scoring 17 points.
Serbia remained perfect with a convincing 76-50 win over China as Nikola Jankovic scored 15 points and Nikola Milutinov collected 14 points and 11 rebounds.
China dropped to 3-2 with Qi Zhou sitting out the game and Quanxi Wu the only player in double digits with 10 points.
Russia will have their fate in their own hands after holding off Brazil
82-78 in overtime. Stanislav Ilnitskiy scored 29 points and Mikhail Kulagin hit for 21 points as the Europeans jumped to 2-3.
Brazil fell to 1-4 and are eliminated despite Daniel Bordignon Barbieri collecting 18 points, 11 rebounds and three steals.
The breakdown of Group F is as follows: the USA and Serbia face off on Wednesday to determine first place, while China are set in third place as they hold the tiebreaker over both Australia and Russia. Fourth place will go to the winner of the Australia-Russia match-up with the loser joining Iran and two other teams in the Classification Round 9-12.
In the Classification Round 13-16, Abdoulaye Ndoye collected 27 points, 16 rebounds and two blocks to lead five players in double figures as Senegal secured their first-ever win at the FIBA U19 World Championship by beating Korea
88-79 and improving to 1-1.
Korea dropped to 1-1 despite Sang Jae Kang pouring in 31 points.
The hosts Czech Republic picked up their first win in classification play with a 69-59 defeat of Cote d’Ivoire.
Prokop Slanina led the way for the home side with 16 points and nine rebounds.
All four teams now have a 1-1 mark in the Classification Round.