Mon, Aug 21, 2006 - Page 20 News List

Argentina, Germany, Angola impress

BRING ON ROUND 2 All three teams won their second-straight games -- Argentina easily beat Lebanon, Germany trounced New Zealand and Angola saw off Japan

AP , HAMAMATSU, JAPAN

Argentina's Walter Herrmann, left, tries to drive past Lebanon's Fadi El Khatib during first half action in their Group A preliminary round match on the second day of the World Basketball Championship in Sendai, Japan, yesterday.

PHOTO: AFP

Argentina, Germany and Angola won their second-straight games -- all convincingly -- at the world basketball championship yesterday, putting them in good positions to advance to the second round.

Italy and Turkey also went to 2-0, but had to stage comeback wins over Slovenia and Australia, respectively.

Argentina, the 2004 Olympic champion, beat Lebanon 107-72 to remain the only unbeaten team in Group A, while Germany defeated New Zealand 80-56 in Group B.

Angola also stayed unbeaten in Group B and kept Japan winless with an 87-62 win over the host country at Hiroshima.

After trailing by six points after three quarters, Turkey, led by forward Irsan Ilyasova's 17 points, beat Australia 76-68 to remain the only unbeaten team in Group C.

Italy, meanwhile, edged Slovenia 80-76 in a Group D game at Saporro. The Italians trailed 68-66 with five minutes remaining before pulling away for the win.

The 24 teams are playing five preliminary games each in four groups across Japan. The top four teams in each group advance to the second round after round-robin play ends on Thursday, with the gold medal game set for Sept. 3 in Saitama near Tokyo.

Among four late matches yesterday, the US played China at Sapporo and France and Serbia and Montenegro, which both lost opening games, played each other at Sendai in Group A.

Also at Sendai, Victor Diaz scored 24 points to lead Venezuela to an 84-77 win over Nigeria, leaving both teams with 1-1 records. Nigeria made a late run and closed the gap to 73-68 with three minutes remaining, but Diaz hit a 3-pointer with 20 seconds left to seal the win for Venezuela.

"Victor is our most experienced player and he hit some huge shots for us today," Venezuela coach Nestor Salazar said.

Carlos Almeida scored 19 points and Angola made 12 3-pointers. Almeida, who had 22 points in the opening win over Panama, hit two of his three 3s at the end of the second quarter when the African champions started to break the game open.

In another Group C game, Brazil, which lost to Australia on Saturday, evened its record with a 97-66 win over Qatar.

Coach Xavier "Lulu" Ferreira said the real Brazil showed up yesterday, using steals, fast breaks and a controlling defense over Qatar.

"You saw Brazilian basketball at its best today," Ferreira said. "We used our speed from the start to take advantage, and we stayed ahead of them the entire game."

Brazil scored 13 points to Qatar's none on fast breaks, and scored 10 points _ again to Qatar's none -- on turnovers.

Elsewhere, Carlos Arroyo scored 29 points and hit the first of three straight 3-pointers during the game's decisive run, leading Puerto Rico to an 88-79 Group D victory over Senegal, now 0-2.

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