BILBAO, SPAIN – Spain and Greece are headed to the round of 16, and Senegal is in position to join them after shaking up Group B with an upset Monday at the FIBA World Cup.
The Spanish earned a trip to their capital by routing Brazil in a battle of unbeatens to take the lead in Group A, while Greece clinched the first spot in Madrid by improving to 3-0 earlier in the day.
The U.S. was off, a night after rallying from a halftime deficit to beat Turkey.
Pau Gasol of the Chicago Bulls had 26 points and nine rebounds for Spain in its 82-63 victory over Brazil in Granada. The hosts had already routed Iran and Egypt by a combined 67 points, but have difficult first-round games remaining against France and Serbia following Tuesday’s rest day.
Greece matched Spain for the overall best record by beating Puerto Rico 90-79 in Seville, and has won each of its games by double digits. The Greeks, who needed a wild card into the tournament, will next face a Croatia team that was stunned 77-75 Sunday by Senegal.
That dropped the Croatians (2-1) into a three-way tie for second with Argentina and the Senegalese, who pulled off the kind of surprising victory that Ukraine coach Mike Fratello predicted there would be more of a day earlier.
“There are going to be a number of upsets in this tournament, I think, in the four groups, because there is such balance and a team that loses one night is going to come back the next night and play great,” he said after Finland rebounded from its 59-point loss to the U.S. by beating his team.
The Americans avoided what would have been the biggest upset by beating Turkey 98-77 on Sunday, pulling away after trailing 40-35 at halftime and leading only 66-60 after three quarters. They return Tuesday to face New Zealand, which is 0-2 but was beating Turkey for nearly most of its opening game before faltering down the stretch.
“I saw the Turkey game, but I was watching Turkey when I was watching, and it looked like New Zealand should have won, or was in a good position,” U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “So if they had a chance to beat Turkey, they must be pretty good.”
Group D was also off Monday. Those teams are back in action Tuesday, while Groups A and B are off. Every team plays Wednesday and Thursday to wrap up pool play, with the round of 16 beginning Saturday in Madrid and Barcelona.
Sergio Rodriguez had 12 points and Juan Carlos Navarro 10 for Spain. Leandro Barbosa paced Brazil (2-1) with 11 points.
Nemanja Bjelica had 18 points and 10 rebounds for Serbia (2-1), which overcame 29 points from former NBA center Hamed Haddadi. Iran is 0-3.
The French (2-1) jumped out to a big early lead and put four players in double figures in the rout. Ibrahim Elgammal led winless Egypt with 12 points.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5