World champions Spain pounded Poland 90-68 on Wednesday to clinch a spot in the quarterfinals at the European basketball championship.
Spain never trailed against an overmatched Poland, and appear to finally be finding their rhythm after struggling earlier in the tournament.
Guard Juan Carlos Navarro led the world champions with 23 points, while Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol chipped in with 20 points and five rebounds. US-born point guard David Logan led Poland with 20 points.
Spain, looking for a first European title after finishing runner-up six times, faced a stiff test in the quarterfinals yesterday against France. Led by San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker, the French team cruised through the first two rounds undefeated.
Serbia clinched the other quarterfinal spot up for grabs in Group F with a late barrage of 3-pointers to beat Lithuania 89-79.
Trailing 75-71 almost halfway through the fourth quarter, Serbia hit six straight 3-pointers over the next three minutes while holding Lithuania to one bucket to lead 89-77.
Point guard Milos Teodosic scored 20 points and handed out 12 assists to lead five Serbian players in double figures.
Center Nenad Krstic chipped in with 16 points and four rebounds.
Serbia play defending champion Russia in the quarterfinals.
Wednesday’s loss dropped Lithuania, a traditional power in the sport, to 1-6 in the tournament and last place in Group F.
“We controlled the game but they played patiently and killed us with late 3-pointers,” said Lithuania coach Ramunas Butautas, who announced after the loss that he was stepping down as coach.
Slovenia nabbed the top spot in Group F, beating Turkey 69-67 to hand the Turks their first loss of the tournament.
Turkey had a shot to win it at the buzzer, but guard Engin Atsur’s open 3-pointer from the corner bounced out as time expired and Slovenia hung on for the win.
Forward Bostjan Nachbar led Slovenia with 16 points, while forward Ersan Ilyasova scored 16 for Turkey.