Wed, Sep 16, 2009 - Page 19 News List

Gasol leads Spain past Lithuania 84-70

AP , LODZ, POLAND

Spain’s Pau Gasol, center, goes for the ball against Lithuania’s Marijonas Petravicius during their FIBA EuroBasket qualifying round Group F basketball game in Lodz, Poland, on Monday.

PHOTO: REUTERS

World champion Spain eased past Lithuania 84-70 on Monday and Turkey hung on to beat Serbia 69-64 in overtime and stay unbeaten at the European basketball championship.

Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol led Spain with 19 points and eight rebounds, while guard Juan Carlos Navarro chipped in with 13 points to give the Spaniards their first win in Group F and move them a step closer to the quarter-finals.

Trailing 24-15 at the start of the second quarter, Spain guard Rudy Fernandez hit a 3-pointer to spark a 25-3 run over the next seven minutes that put Spain ahead 40-27.

The world champions continued to get out on the fast break, and led by as much as 24 in the fourth quarter before pulling most of their starters.

Spain has struggled to match the level of play it produced in winning the silver medal at last year’s Beijing Olympics and the world title in 2006. The team lost its opening game to Serbia, and then fell to Turkey in the first game of the second round.

Lithuania has lost its first two second-round games and is assured of missing out on the quarter-finals for the first time since 2001.

Turkey kept its perfect record at the tournament and clinched a quarter-final spot with a gritty overtime win against Serbia.

Forward Hedo Turkoglu tipped in a rebound at the buzzer that appeared to give Turkey the win in regulation, but an official review showed the shot was after time had expired.

The Turks then held Serbia scoreless in a sloppy overtime to claim the top spot in Group F.

“I really don’t know how we won this game,” Turkoglu said. “We led the game the whole night, but we made stupid mistakes that almost cost us the game. But in the end we still had good defense.”

Forward Ersan Ilyasova led Turkey with a game-high 22 points and 11 rebounds.

Also in Group F, Slovenia beat Poland 76-60 behind 20 points and 9 boards from center Erazem Lorbek. Slovenia held Poland to one point over the first seven minutes of the third quarter to open a 16-point lead that the Poles could never close.

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