4 days on the competition have past, and teams are starting to brighten up while other teams performances are being 180 degrees different from other games. After having a terrfic opener vs Canada, the Cedar Trees suddenly aren’t the same team, as New Zealand was another team to having a shooting perfection night against the Lebanese, handing them their biggest loss so far, diminishing Lebanese hopes of making the second round.
The game took a rough start for the Lebanese, as they were unable to get a shot off while the Tall Blacks came out firing three pointers from everywhere, not looking like the team that lost its first two games earlier in the competition. The Lebanese could never find their groove back in the game, especially with Jackson Vroman catching foul trouble (3 fouls in the first half) and eventually fouling out. Trailing 32 to 16 after the first quarter, the Cedar Trees play never improved, with players such as Matt Freije, who had two great games earlier against Canada and France, had finished with a miserable 4 points on 1 for 7 shooting. At a point in the game, Elie Rustom commited a double dribble, a fault unacceptable in basketball and only commited by beginners. The game turned out so horrible for the Lebanese, losing 108-76, as it was just the complete opposite for New Zealand, who shot 57% from the floor, mainly due to their star Kirk Penney, who scored 26 points, including 6 3 pointers and Thomas Abercombie had 23 points as well, leading 4 other players in double figures for the Tall Blacks. Fadi El Khatib tried his best for Lebanon, scoring 18 points and grabbing 7 rebounds, but didn’t have the help expected from both Freije and Vroman. Rony Fahed and Jean Abdel Nour had 12 points apiece. Lebanon’s hopes of qualifying depend on them winning one more game, while Canada must beat New Zealand to give the Lebanese one more win than the former two countries mentioned.
Another disappointing performance came from the defending world champs Spain, who were leading by as much as 18 points through the third quarter. That 18 point lead wouldn’t last for long against the Lithuanians, who stormed back into the game behind Linas Kleiza’s 17 points and was helped by his teammates Martynas Pocius and Jonas Maciulis, who had 13 points apiece to win 76-73. After a great start for Marc Gasol (18 points and 8 rebounds), Lithuania double teamed him, yet his Spanish teammates were unable to take advantage of that, making things easer for Lithuanians to get back into the game. Spain might face Greece in the Round of 16.
Another important clash took place, this time in Group C between the undefeated teams hosts Turkey and Greece for the top spot (most probably). The hosts came up on top from the beginning, riding Ersan Ilyasova’s hot hand to take a lead that would never be relinquished. The Greeks tried bringing the deficit down, but they weren’t able to grasp a lead, giving them their first loss in the tournament 76-65. Ilyasova had a game-high 26 points for Turkey while Bourousis was the only Greek in double figures (15 points).
Russia 72 – 66 Ivory Coast
Puerto Rico 84 – 76 China
France 68 – 63 Canada