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Marc Gasol leads Spain past Croatia at Euro championships

Photo: Attila Kisbenedeka/AFP/Getty Images

Marc Gasol led Spain to a win in their opening match vs. Croatia at the European championships.

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia (AP) -- Marc Gasol had 14 points and 11 rebounds, and Spain limited Croatia to three points in the final quarter, opening its bid for a third straight European basketball title with a 68-40 victory Wednesday.

Rudy Fernandez added 15 points, Jose Calderon had 13 and Ricky Rubio had seven assists and seven points as Spain dominated the Group C match in Celje, outscoring Croatia 19-3 in the fourth quarter.

Spain is trying to become the first team to win three consecutive European titles since Yugoslavia in the 1970s. The Spaniards are playing without stars Pau Gasol, Serge Ibaka and Juan Carlos Navarro.

Bojan Bogdanovic had 12 points for Croatia.

In Group B in Jesenice, Montenegro edged Macedonia, a semifinalist two years ago, 81-80, with American-born guard Tyrese Rice making two free throws with 10 seconds left. Bo McCalebb, another American-born guard, led Macedonia with 23 points but missed a layup that would have won the game.

Greece rolled past Sweden 79-51 in Group D.

Also, Kyle Johnson scored 22 points and Kieron Achara had 18 points and 13 rebounds to lead Britain to a 75-71 overtime victory over Israel in the first Group A match.

Another American-born guard, Eugene Jeter, also played a key role in Ljubljana, converting a three-point play with 3 seconds remaining to give Ukraine a 58-57 win over Belgium in Group A. Jeter put in a layup, drew a foul and converted the free throw to finish with eight points. Ihor Zaytsev of Ukraine led all scorers with 16.

Also in Group A, a youthful Germany team missing Dirk Nowitzki got 19 points from Robin Benzing in an 80-74 victory over France. Tony Parker had 18 points for France.

Serbia, the youngest team, beat Lithuania 63-56 behind 20 points from center Nenad Krstic. Nemanja Nedovic added 14 in the Group B match.

Russia, bronze medalist two years ago, also lost, going down 76-69 to Italy, which got 25 points from Luigi Datone. Host Slovenia eked out a 62-60 victory over the Czech Republic in Group C.

Also, Finland got 12 points apiece from Petteri Koponen and Sasu Salin to stun Turkey 61-55 in Group D in Koper, while Latvia beat Bosnia-Herzegovina 86-75 in Group B and Georgia defeated Poland 84-67 in Group C.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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