Canada, Italy, Latvia, Serbia punch tickets to quarterfinals

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After a wild Sunday of action, the 2023 FIBA World Cup quarterfinals are set. Here is what the final eight bracket looks like:

Italy vs. USA
Germany vs. Latvia
Canada vs. Slovenia
Lithuania vs. Serbia

Team USA’s loss to Lithuania didn’t hurt them, they advanced (and may have an easier path, had they won Sunday they would have faced a Serbian team that is, on paper, a tougher matchup for the Americans). There were four win-of-go-home games in the World Cup on Sunday. Here’s how they came out.

Canada 88, Spain 85

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has been the second-best player in the World Cup (behind Luka Doncic), and Canada needed his 30-point effort to spark a comeback from 12 points down in the fourth quarter to beat defending World Cup champion Spain.

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With the win, Canada advances to the quarterfinals to take on Doncic and Slovenia. Dillon Brooks added 22 points for Canada, including a clutch late 3, and RJ Barrett started hot, cooled way off, but still finished with 16.Willy Hernangomez led Spain with 25 points while the Grizzlies’ Santi Aldama added 20.

Canada also qualified for the Paris Olympics with the win, representing the Americas along with the United States). It’s the first time Canada has qualified for the Olympics since Steve Nash played on the squad.

Serbia 112, Dominican Republic 79

Serbia — without Nikola Jokic — continues to be one of the dominant teams of the World Cup and that showed in a comfortable win against the Dominican Republic. The Hawks Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 20 points and led six Serbians in double figures — they couldn’t seem to miss and shot 66% as a team for the game.

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Karl-Anthony Towns dropped 25 to lead the Dominican Republic.

Latvia 104, Brazil 82

Latvia advanced to the quarterfinals in its first-ever World Cup, pulling away from Brazil in the second half for a comfortable win. Andrejs Grazulis led Latvia with 24 points while Arturs Zagars added 17. Latvia now faces one of the tournament powerhouses in Germany.

Italy 73, Puerto Rico 57

Italy got 15 points a piece from Stefano Tonut and Giampaolo Ricci, and behind that beat Puerto Rico and advances on to the World Cup quarterfinals. Utah Jazz forward Simone Fontecchio added 12 points and 12 rebounds for Italy.

Italy will face Team USA in what the Italians will see as a personal revenge game — Paolo Banchero had said he would play for Italy previously, but in the past year changed his mind and decided to play for the USA at the World Cup (and with that, future competitions as well).

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