Serbia routs Greece 90-72 to reach WCup quarters

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Guard Bogdan Bogdanovic made four 3-pointers and scored 21 points to help Serbia rout Greece 90-72 and advance to the quarterfinals of the Basketball World Cup on Sunday.

Serbia will meet the winner of the other round-of-16 game between South American powers Argentina and Brazil to be played later in Madrid.

In Barcelona, Jonas Valanciunas scored eight of his 22 points in the fourth quarter as Lithuania held on to beat New Zealand 76-71 and move on to meet either Turkey or Australia, which also play later at Barcelona’s Palau Sant Jordi.

Greece needed a wild card invitation to compete in Spain, but it had appeared to re-establish its credentials as a perennial medal contender by winning all five games to claim first place in its group.

But Serbia led throughout except when Greece managed a 1-point led late in the second quarter, and the Greeks imploded in the fourth period, falling behind by as much as 20 points.

Center Miroslav Raduljica added 16 points for the Serbs, while Milos Teodosic scored 13 more.

Guard Nick Calathes paced Greece with 14 points.

The first half between the two traditional European powers did not disappoint.

Both moved the ball with precision and shot high percentages of almost 60 percent from 2-point range in a beautiful 20 minutes of basketball.

After drawing level several times, Nikos Zsis hit a 3-pointer to put Greece ahead for the first and only time with 1:02 left in the second period.

Serbia reclaimed the initiative immediately when Raduljica scored inside and Nikola Kalinic drove baseline to slam the ball and pick up a foul, letting him convert the 3-point play for a 46-42 lead at halftime.

Serbia then dominated the second, turning what had been an evenly matched contest into a blowout.

In Barcelona, Lithuania lined up to observe the Tall Blacks’ ceremonial ”haka,” and then went to work overpowering New Zealand with its taller inside players.

But guard Corey Webster, who finished with 26 points, spurred New Zealand’s rally from 15 points down to take a one-point lead when Lithuania went scoreless for the first four minutes of the fourth quarter.

Valanciunas answered by making four free throws and two inside baskets for the reigning bronze medalists. The Toronto Raptors center also pulled in 13 rebounds and blocked three shots, while guard Martynas Pocius chipped in with 11 points.

”Jonas played really well and that’s what we expected,” said Lithuania coach Jonas Kazlauskas. ”He has gotten stronger and has more experience. Now he respects his opponents even more and knows the price of every game.”