U.S. beats Finland in FIBA opener

AFP-JIJI

The defending champion United States and host 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 the U.S. blasted Finland 114-55 to start the defense of its crown from 2010. DeMarcus Cousins added nine points and 10 rebounds for the Americans in Group C in Bilbao.

Finland, which 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 recipient Brazil knocked off 2013 European champion France 65-63 as Marcelo Huertas paced the winners with 16 points.