Latvia beats Slovenia 73-66 to reach Eurobasket quarters
LILLE, France (AP) Defending champion France overwhelmed Turkey 76-53 before a record indoor crowd to make the European basketball championship quarterfinals on Saturday.
Greece set up a showdown with Spain by beating Belgium 75-54 for its sixth win in as many games.
Spain pulled away at the start of the fourth quarter to beat Poland 80-66. Pau Gasol put the game away with eight straight points with just over three minutes left. Gasol, the tournament's leading scorer, finished with 30 points and seven rebounds.
''Poland made it difficult,'' Gasol said. ''We had 16 turnovers to their nine. In the end, we figured it out.''
France went on a 14-0 run late in the second quarter and led by 10 at halftime to practically finish the job. Turkey could not match France's physical play. France has won all six games so far.
The match saw the attendance record for an indoor game broken with a sell-out crowd of 26,135, according to the organizers. The previous record was held by Red Star Belgrade, which drew 24,232 to Belgrade Arena for a Eurocup quarterfinal against Budivelnik Kyiv.
The previous record for a Eurobasket game was also set in Belgrade, with 18,900 fans watching the medal games in 2005.
Guard Nando de Colo led France with 15 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. France's defense limited Turkey playmaker Ali Muhammed to nine points and five assists.
France will next meet Latvia, which beat Slovenia 73-66. Latvia won the first title 80 years ago, but its best recent placing was eighth in 2001.
Greece seeks its third Eurobasket title, and first in a decade.
Spain has one of the most impressive runs in European championship history, having not finished lower than fourth in the last eight tournaments. It won in 2009 and 2011, and took the bronze two years ago.
That record seemed in real jeopardy when it and Poland were tied 55-55 at the end of the third. But a 14-2 run lifted Spain ahead by 10. If Poland had any hopes of coming back, Gasol destroyed them with a jumper followed by two straight 3-pointers before leaving the game to a standing ovation.
''We got better and better on defense with each quarter,'' Spain coach Sergio Scariolo said.
Spain played without guard Rudy Fernandez, who was nursing a sore back.
Belgium, trailing by three at halftime, resisted well until midway through the third quarter, when Vassilis Spanoulis gave Greece a 10-point lead. Greece used a 21-3 run into the fourth quarter to take a 23-point advantage, while Belgium could not score for nine minutes.
''In the first half we would have had a better score if we were not so static against the zone,'' Greece coach Fotis Katsikaris said. ''In the second half, the team was very determined and played unbelievable defense.''
Greece went 5-0 in the group stage and looked at ease as the tournament moved into the knockout stage at Lille's football stadium, which has been converted into an indoor arena.
Saturday's losers will not have a chance to qualify for next year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.