While the USA was tested, their victory over Montenegro Friday — combined with Lithuania beating Greece — means Teams USA advances to the quarterfinals, the eight-team knockout round of the World Cup that starts next week.
Four teams punched their tickets to the final eight on Friday –the USA, Germany, Slovenia and Lithuania — while eight other teams face win-or-go-home showdowns on Sunday. Here is the rest of the action from an interesting Friday at the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
Brazil 69, Canada 65
In the biggest upset of this World Cup, former NBA player Bruno Caboclo sparked Brazil to victory with 19 points and 13 rebounds.
Canada struggled on two-pointers, shooting 26.7%, with the Knicks RJ Barrett going 1-of-8 and the Timberwolves’ Nickeil Alexander-Walker shooting 1-of-9. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led Canada with 23 and Lu Dort added 17.
Canada now faces defending World Cup champion Spain in a game where the winner advances and the loser goes home. It will be the same for Brazil and Latvia.
Slovenia 91, Australia 80
One of the deepest rosters at the World Cup, Australia is out after its loss to Luka Doncic and undefeated Slovenia (4-0). Doncic led the way with19 points, while Mike Tobey added 18 points and 12 rebounds for Slovenia
With the win Slovenia is 4-0 and advances to the final eight of the World Cup.
Josh Giddey scored 25 points to lead Australia, which fell to 2-2 at the World Cup. Patty Mills scored 17. The good news for Australia is that they did qualify for the Paris Olympics next summer.
Puerto Rico 102, Dominican Republic 97
If there’s one player not in the league who has looked NBA ready in this World Cup, it’s been Tremont Waters. The former Boston College star was on the fringes of the NBA for a couple of seasons, then spent last season as the second-leading scorer on the Paris squad Metropolitans 92 (trailing only Victor Wembanyama). He has been a force in the World Cup.
Waters scored 37 points for Puerto Rico in an upset of the Dominican Republic on Friday.
Karl-Anthony Towns led the Dominican Republic with 39 points and 10 rebounds.
Both teams are 3-1 and face win-and-advance games on Sunday. Puerto Rico takes on Italy, while KAT and the Dominican Republic face Serbia.
Latvia 74, Spain 69
Davis Bertans had his best game of this World Cup scoring 16, and Rodions Kurucs added 14 as Latvia upset the defending World Cup Champions. Latvia took over the fourth quarter and won it 27-11.
The win leaves all four teams in Group L at 3-1, which means the winner of Latvia vs. Brazil on Sunday will advance to the final eight, and the same is true of Spain vs. Canada.
Lithuania 92, Greece 67
This game was close for a half, but Lithuania punched its ticket to the quarterfinals by pulling away for a comfortable win against Greece. Rokas Jokubaitis led Lithuania with 19 points, while Ignas Brazdeikis added 18.
Lithuania plays the USA on Sunday with quarterfinals seeding on the line.
Italy 78, Serbia 76
Utah Jazz forward Simone Fontecchio put the Italian squad on his back and scored 30 points, leading its upset win over Serbia.
Basketball is a make-or-miss sport, and Italy was 11-of-21 from 3 in this game while Serbia shot 36.2% overall on the day — shooting was the difference.
As noted above in talking about Puerto Rico upsetting the Dominican Republic, all four teams in this group are 3-1, making Sunday’s games — Puerto Rico vs. Italy and Serbia vs. Dominican Republic — win and advance.
Germany 100, Georgia 73
Germany remained undefeated and may have taken over as the second-best team in the world Cup with a comfortable win against Georgia. Dennis Schroder scored 16 points and Moritz Wagner added 14 for Germany, which has now advanced to the quarterfinals next week.
Germany plays Slovenia on Sunday with quarterfinal seeding on the line. Georgia is eliminated from the World Cup.