The 2020 Olympic Men's Basketball Tournament, featuring 38 players from the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and 7DAYS EuroCup playing key roles for their countries, continued Saturday with the final action in Groups A and B which saw Italy, Germany and United States reach the quarterfinals. That trio joined the already qualified duo of France and Australia, which both remained undefeated as group winners in Tokyo.
Group B: Big fourth quarter sends Italy to quarterfinals
Italy booked its ticket for the quarterfinals with an impressive fourth quarter in grabbing an 80-71 victory over Nigeria. Italy gave up just nine points in fourth quarter in finishing Group B play with a 2-1 record. Nicolo Melli of AX Armani Exchange Milan paced the Italians with 15 points while Nico Mannion had 14 points, including a dagger three-pointer in the final minute. Achille Polonara from Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul added 13 points and Simone Fontecchio of Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz chipped in 12 points. Chimezie Metu collected 22 points and 10 rebounds Nigeria, which finished the tournament with a 0-3 record. Italy built a 15-point lead mid-way through the first half but watched Nigeria pull within 40-39 at the break. The Africans continued their strong play and even led by eight points after 30 minutes before Italy's strong final quarter. The other game in the group saw Australia defeat Germany 89-76 to remain perfect. Germany erased a 10-point third quarter deficit with a 10-0 run but then watched as Australia pulled away in the fourth. Patty Mills led the way with 24 points and 6 assists while Jock Landale had 18 points for Australia. Germany ended up with a 1-2 record and would later in the day secure a spot in the final eight thanks to United States handing Czech Republic a 35-point loss and give Germany a better point differential over the Czechs in the battle for one of the two spots as third-placed teams in the groups. FC Bayern Munich sharpshooter Andi Obst hit 5 three-pointers in scoring 17 points for Germany, which also had Zalgiris Kaunas wing Niels Giffey and ALBA Berlin big man Johannes Thiemann both score 11 points.
Group A: USA rolls Czechs, France stays undefeated
France remained undefeated at the Olympics as it finished Group A play with a comfortable 79-62 win over Iran. France, which had already locked up the top spot in the group regardless of the result, took over the proceedings with a 24-10 second quarter. Real Madrid's Thomas Heurtel was France's top scorer with 16 points while Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot scored 12 points, Fenerbahce's Nando de Colo tallied 10 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists and Real big man Vincent Poirier also picked up 10 points. Hamed Haddadi did all he could with 18 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and 3 blocks but Iran finished 0-3. France was joined in the quarters by the reigning champion United States, which raced past Czech Republic 119-84. The Americans trailed after 10 minutes but took over in the second quarter and then poured it on in the second half with 72 points in the final 20 minutes. Jayson Tatum poured in 27 points to pace five players in double figures including Kevin Durant, who flirted with a triple-double in collecting 23 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists in helping United States to a 2-1 record. The Czechs finished third in the group at 1-2. Blake Schilb scored 17 points and Jan Vesely of Fenerbahce chipped in 13 points, 3 rebounds and 4 assists.
Olympic action continues Sunday with the final two games of the group stage as Argentina and Japan face off with the winner most likely reaching the quarterfinals before Spain and Slovenia square off for first place in the Group C.