Slovenia alone atop group at basketball worlds
Goran Dragic got Slovenia out of the kind of trouble that Lithuania couldn't escape.
Now the Slovenians are in position for the No. 1 spot in Group D and the chance to avoid the U.S. until the semifinals of the Basketball World Cup.
Dragic scored 22 points and Slovenia broke away from a close game to beat South Korea 89-72 on Tuesday and remain the only unbeaten team in the Las Palmas, Canary Islands pool. The Slovenians led by one point at halftime before outscoring the South Koreans 49-33 in the second half.
The Slovenians haven't lost since the Americans beat them on the same court in their final exhibition game four days before the World Cup opener.
Lithuania missed a chance to keep pace when it lost 82-75 to Australia, leaving both teams at 2-1. Lithuania fell into a huge early hole and trailed 47-28 at halftime before a second-half rally fell short.
The first-place team from Group D wouldn't have to face the Americans, assuming the defending champions win Group C as expected, until the semifinals. Finishing second would mean having to play the world's No. 1 team one round earlier.
The U.S. is the only unbeaten team in Group C after beating New Zealand 98-71 in Bilbao, Spain. Ukraine and the Dominican Republic also won to share second place at 2-1.
Groups A and B had the day off. All 24 teams will be in action on Wednesday and Thursday before the field is cut to 16, with eight teams from Groups A and B going to Madrid, and the other eight to Barcelona.
U.S. 98, NEW ZEALAND 71
Anthony Davis had 21 points and nine rebounds, Kenneth Faried added 15 and 11 boards as the Americans led all the way after having to overcome a halftime deficit to beat Turkey in their last outing. BJ Anthony was the only player in double figures with 11 points for New Zealand (0-3).
UKRAINE 64, TURKEY 58
Alexander Mishula scored 19 points and Igor Zaytsev added 12 for Ukraine (2-1) in a game that was close throughout. Omer Asik of the New Orleans Pelicans had 16 points and Emir Preldzic chipped in 14 for Turkey (1-2).
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 74, FINLAND 68
Elroy Vargas scored 18 points and Francisco Garcia of the Houston Rockets added 16, despite both appearing to suffer leg or ankle injuries in the final minutes, and the Dominican Republic (2-1) blew most of a big lead before holding on for its second straight victory. Petteri Koponen finished with 23 points for Finland (1-2), which was coming off its first victory ever in the World Cup.
SLOVENIA 89, SOUTH KOREA 72
Dragic shot 10 of 14 and the Phoenix Suns guard also had four assists for the Slovenians, who play Angola next before closing group play with Lithuania. Jonghyun Lee had 12 points for South Korea (0-3).
AUSTRALIA 82, LITHUANIA 75
Joe Ingles scored 18 points and Aron Baynes, who played last season for the San Antonio Spurs, added 14 as Australia won its second straight since falling to Slovenia in its opener. Lithuania, which managed just eight points in the second quarter, got 21 points from Renaldas Seibutis.
MEXICO 79, ANGOLA 55
Gustavo Ayon, recovered from shoulder surgery that ended his season with the Atlanta Hawks, had 17 points and 12 rebounds for Mexico (1-2) in its first victory at this tournament since 1974. Yanick Moreira had 13 points for Angola (1-2).