Nowitzki, Germany top Cape Verde; Puerto Rico survives Cameroon rally

Updated: July 15, 2008, 6:07 PM ET
Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece -- Slovenia, Germany, Puerto Rico and Brazil won and reached the quarterfinals of the Olympic basketball qualifying tournament Tuesday.

Dirk Nowitzki scored 16 points to lead Germany to a 104-68 win over Cape Verde in its opening game.

Slovenia beat Canada 86-70; Brazil coasted to an easy 94-54 victory over Lebanon and Puerto Rico survived a spirited Cameroon comeback to win 81-72 in the twelve-team tournament that will send three countries to the Beijing Olympics.

Cameroon, whose players almost staged a strike in protest against their own federation, came back from a 21-point deficit early in the second half to cut Puerto Rico's lead to 70-67 with 1:40 to play.

"The boys proved they can play with the best in the world," Cameroon coach Lazare Adingono said.

Croatia, Greece and New Zealand have also booked a place for the quarterfinals. Canada and South Korea will play for the final spot Wednesday.

The Dallas Mavericks' Nowitzki led Germany with 16 points and five rebounds. American-born Chris Kaman scored 10 points in the Los Angeles Clippers' player debut for Germany. He's glad his teammates speak English and have welcomed him as their fellow player.

"The problem is I don't speak any German," the 26-year-old said. "I'm excited to be here ... These guys have been playing together for 10 years now. They've been very welcoming. It reminds me of college."

Jaka Lakovic scored 19 points in Slovenia's second straight win at the tournament.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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