Olympics Roundup: France, Slovenia, USA, Australia to semis!

Aug 03, 2021 by Euroleague.net Print
Olympics Roundup: France, Slovenia, USA, Australia to semis!

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 Tuesday with the do-or-die quarterfinals. Slovenia kept making history in its first appearance in the Olympic Tournament, beating Germany 94-70 to reach the medal rounds. Slovenia will next play France, which eliminated Italy. The other pairing will be Australia against USA, which beat Spain.

Slovenia gets historical win

Slovenia became the first team to reach the semifinals by downing Germany 94-70, accessing the medal rounds in its first Olympic Tournament appearance. Zoran Dragic, who played for Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz last season, led the winners with 27 points on 11-of-13 shooting, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. Former EuroLeague MVP Luka Doncic added 20 points, 8 rebounds and 11 assists while Mike Tobey of Valencia Basket had 13 points and 11 rebounds for Slovenia. Maodo Lo of ALBA Berlin led Germany with 11 points. Niels Giffey of Zalgiris Kaunas added 10. Dragic and Jaka Blazic of Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana allowed Slovenia to get its first double-digit lead, 23-12, late in the first quarter. Germany bounced back and Lo buried three consecutive three-pointers to put his team ahead, 31-32. Tobey, Dragic and Edo Muric of Cedevita each struck from downtown to restore a 44-37 Slovenian edge at halftime. Doncic and Dragic took over after the break, boosting their team's lead to 66-52 after 30 minutes. Slovenia soon made it a 21-point game, 84-63, on a layup by Dragic and had plenty of time to celebrate a historical win.

Durant leads USA past Spain

USA punched its ticket to the semifinals by downing Spain 81-95 behind 29 points from Kevin Durant. Jayson Tatum had 13 for USA. Rucky Rubio led Spain with 38 points, the best scoring mark ever against USA at the Olympic Games. Former EuroLeague MVP Sergio Rodriguez of AX Armani Exchange Milan had 16 for Spain. Durant and Devin Booker allowed USA to get an early 10-17 lead. Rubio and former EuroLeague MVP Sergio Llull of Real Madrid combined for all points in an 11-2 run that gave Spain its first lead, 21-19, at the end of the first quarter. Rodriguez and Willy Hernangomez soon allowed Spain to make it a double-digit game, 40-29. Durant stepped up for USA, getting help from Zach Lavine to tie the game, 43-43, at halftime. Durant struck three times from downtown soon after the break, and got plenty of help from Lavine and Booker to make it a 16-point game, 49-65. Rubio and Hernangomez rescued Spain and Rodriguez sank a step-back triple that gave Spain hope, 63-69, after 30 minutes. Usman Garuba of Real Madrid, the 2020-21 EuroLeague Rising Star, soon brought his team even closer, 65-69, but Damian Lillard and Tatum restored a 66-77 USA lead with 7 minutes left, enough to control the game until the final buzzer.

France edges past Italy

France edged Italy 75-84 on Tuesday afternoon to set up a semifinal clash with Slovenia. Rudy Gobert paced the winners with 22 points and 9 rebounds, Evan Fournier scored 21, Nicolas Batum collected 15 points and 14 rebounds. Real Madrid point guard Thomas Heurtel had 10 points and 5 assists, while Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul guard Nando De Colo dished a team-high 7 assists. Simone Fontecchio of Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz paced Italy with 23 points, Danilo Gallinari had 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Fenerbahce forward Achille Polonara had 15 points plus 7 rebounds. Fontecchio scored 7 points, including a triple, and Polonara and Michele Vitali of Umana Reyer Venice each also hit a three-pointer without a miss to help Italy to 25-20 after 10 minutes. France responded in the second quarter through Olympiacos Piraeus center Moustapha Fall and Heurtel, who combined for 11 points, including Fall's dunk-plus-foul, that put France in front 30-33. Fall also delivered 2 blocks, and France held 42-43 lead at halftime. France used a 2-15 run midway through the third to open a 14-point lead, and held 54-64 going into the fourth quarter, but Fontecchio strung together 10 points to tie the game at 66-66. Teams traded blows as the game went into the final minutes before Heurtel's triple put France up 73-76 with 2:10 to go, then Heurtel dished it for Gobert's dunk to make it 75-80 with 37 seconds left, sealing the deal.

Australia thrashes Argentina

Australia was the last team to book a place in the semifinals with a 97-59 win over Argentina to end Tuesday action. Patty Mills led the winners with 18 points. Jock Landale and Matisse Thybulle each added 12 while former EuroLeague champion Joe Ingles had 11 for the Boomers. Nico Laprovittola of FC Barcelona led Argentina with 16 points. Gabriel Deck, who played for Real Madrid last season, added 12. Argentina jumped to an early 10-18 lead with a run capped with a triple from Laprovittola, but Ingles replied with a three-pointer, then knocked down another one early in the second quarter as Australia rallied to take a 39-33 lead into halftime. Argentina remained close until late in the third quarter when Dante Exum helped Australia pull away to a 60-48 margin. Australia increased its defensive intensity in the fourth, opening the final quarter with a 17-0 run and cruising to victory.

Looking ahead

Action is set to resume at Saitama Super Arena with the semifinals on Thursday. USA takes on Australia at 06:15 CET. Later on that day, France and Slovenia will battle for a spot in the gold medal game at 13:00 CET.