After a day off, the 2020 Olympic Men’s Basketball Tournament, featuring 38 players from the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and 7DAYS EuroCup playing key roles for their countries, resumed with four more first-round games on Wednesday at Saitama Super Arena in Tokyo, Japan. The day started with Germany winning its first game at the Olympics since 2008 and continued with the United States reaching the Group A win column with a blowout over Iran- Australia outlasted Italy in a close one and France topped the Czech Republic to remain undefeated in Group A.
Group A: France wins again, USA beats Iran
France remained undefeated in the Men’s Olympic Tournament by topping the Czech Republic 77-97 on Wednesday. France improved to 2-0 and qualified to the quarterfinals while the Czech Republic dropped to 1-1. Evan Fournier led the winners with 21 points. Former EuroLeague MVP Nando De Colo of Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul added 17 and 8 assists, Vincent Poirier had 14 points while his Real Madrid teammate Thomas Heurtel got 11 and 7 assists for Les Bleus. Former EuroLeague MVP Jan Vesely of Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul led the Czech Republic with 19 points. Tomas Satoransky, Ondrej Balvin, David Jelinek of MoraBanc Andorra and Jakub Sirina each struck twice from downtown in the first quarter to give the Czechs a 28-22 lead after 10 minutes. Thomas Heurtel of Real Madrid and De Colo fueled a 2-11 run that put France ahead for good, 32-38. De Colo took over with 7 unanswered points, allowing Les Bleus to take a double-digit lead, 40-51, at halftime. De Colo got help from Nicolas Batum and Rudy Gobert to break the game open, 46-61, soon after the break. Poirier’s alley-oop dunk fixed the score at 56-77 after 30 minutes, and France went on to control the game in the fourth quarter.
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USA bounced back from its initial loss in the Men’s Olympic tournament by simply overwhelming Iran 120-66 at Saitama Super Arena. Damian Lillard led 6 USA players in double digits with 21 points on 7-of-13 three-point shots. Mohammad Jamshidijafarabadi and Hamed Haddadi each had 14 points for Iran. USA won all four quarters, getting a 60-30 lead at halftime and extending it to 82-43 after 30 minutes to cruise to a big win.
Group B: Germany rallies past Nigeria
Germany burst into the Group B win column at the Olympics by rallying late to win a 92-99 shootout against Nigeria. Germany is now 1-1 in group play while Nigeria fell to 0-2. CSKA Moscow center Johannes Voigtmann led the winners with 19 points and 7 rebounds, followed closely by Moritz Wagner, who scored 17. Danilo Barthel of Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul added 13 of his 14 points in the final quarter, while Maodo Lo of ALBA Berlin tallied 13 and Andreas Obst of FC Bayern Munich 12. Johannes Thiemann of ALBA posted 9 points and 10 rebounds for Germany, while Jordan Nwora had 33 points for Nigeria. The Germans had trailed by double digits, 68-58, with less than 15 minutes left to play before rallying to tie 74-74 at the end of three-quarters on a buzzer-beating triple by Niels Giffey of Zalgiris Kaunas. The teams were still tied, 81-81, with less than 6 minutes before Germany blasted off with a 0-15 run that decided the game. It started when Barthel scored his third basket of the fourth quarter and Giffey followed with a dunk off a steal by Obst. Barthel kept it going with a three-point play at 81-88 to which Obst added 5 points and Lo a jumper to finish the run and settle the outcome. Germany will return to action on Saturday to play Australia with a spot in the quarterfinals likely hanging in the balance.
Group Germany’s mission got a bit tougher when Australia stayed unbeaten by stopping Italy 83-86 in Group B’s second game on Wednesday. Australia broke a 65-65 tie with Nick Kay’s three-pointer early in the fourth quarter. Despite Giampaolo Ricci of AX Armani Exchange Milan making a layup right after that to make it 67-68, Italy went almost 5 minutes without scoring and eventually ran out of time to complete a comeback. Simone Fontecchia of Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz led Italy with 22 points, while Nico Mannion added 21 and Achille Polonara of Fenerbahce had 12. Former EuroLeague player Jock Landale led Australia with 18 points and Patty Mills added 16.
Seen at: Euroleague.net