HAMAMATSU (FIBA World Championship) – Brazil delivered a first-quarter knockout punch against Qatar on Sunday to get their Group C campaign on track at the FIBA World Championship.
After falling 83-77 in a mild upset to the Australians on Day One, the Brazilians sharpened their focus and established control early before cruising to a 97-66 triumph.
Tiago Splitter had a game-high 18 points and Guilherme came off the bench to score 16 for Brazil.
“Everyone entered the court today with a different mentality,” said Marcelo Huertas, who started along with Alex in place of Marcelinho and Guilherme as coach Lula Ferreira looked to quicken the tempo.
“That was very important because from the first minute, we were playing hard on defense and once you do that, things on offense come easier.
“It’s restored my confidence, and the confidence of all my team-mates and the coaches. Everyone played today. The intensity, that’s the most important thing right now.”
Qatar, unlike Saturday when they built a 28-12 first-half lead against Greece, were unable to get their noses in front against the South Americans.
Huertas’ lay-up three minutes into the game gave Brazil a 7-5 lead and they were in front the rest of the way.
The game got away from Qatar midway through the first quarter. Trailing 11-9 after a jump shot from Daoud Mosa Daoud, the Asians were outscored 16-4 over the next five minutes.
The Brazilians kept up the pressure, scoring the first four points of the second quarter with a Marcelinho jump shot and a basket in the lane from Splitter.
Anderson Varejao beat the half-time buzzer with a short jumper to give the Brazilians an unassailable 51-29 advantage.
There was no way back for Qatar.
“We played much better today,” said Splitter, who was eight of 11 from the field.
“It was the defense and we were able to run our fast break.
“We knew after yesterday we had played our worst game, so now I think we can feel much better about ourselves and focus on the coming games, three tough ones (against Turkey, Greece and Lithuania).
“We’ll have time to rest and practice what we have to do.”
Leandro Barbosa, who had three steals and three assists to go with his six points, added: “It was the defense that got us going.
“We had very good energy and hopefully it’s going to be like this all the time.”
The Australia defeat is now forgotten.
“You know, it’s like the NBA,” Barbosa said. “There are so many games. If you play bad or whatever, you just get ready for the next one.
“Now we’ve got to focus on the next game against Turkey and it’s going to be harder that this one because they are very good team.”
Anderson had 13 points and seven rebounds for Brazil, and Marcelinho had a much better game than on Saturday when he scored just three points. He finished with 13 on four of 10 shooting, including three of nine from three-point range.
Daoud had 16 points for Qatar.
By Jeff Taylor, FIBA