U.S. reaches second round at worlds

Updated: July 3, 2009, 9:32 PM ET
Associated Press

AUCKLAND, New Zealand -- Seth Curry scored 12 points to lead the United States to a 71-55 victory over France on Friday, sending the Americans into the second round of the FIBA under-19 world junior basketball championships.

Gordon Hayward had 11 points and five rebounds as the U.S. stayed top of Group B with one pool game remaining against Egypt on Saturday.

"It was a pretty decisive win, but we could have played better," said Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon, who is guiding the U.S. squad. "They're good, they're athletic and we couldn't dominate them inside. We needed to shoot the ball well and we didn't, but our defense was pretty good and that was probably the final margin."

The U.S. led 19-10 at the end of the first quarter and 35-20 at halftime. The physical defense of both sides resulted in the Americans shooting 40 percent from the field and 10 of 37 from 3-point range, while France shot 32 percent overall and was 5 of 18 from beyond the arc.

France, which already beat Egypt, will likely have to beat Iran on Saturday to progress to the second round from Group B.

In Group D, Luciano Gomez scored 16 points and Mathias Nocedal added 14 as Argentina routed Kazakhstan 98-69 to improve to 2-0. The top-ranked team is almost assured of advancing.

Ninth-ranked Australia upset third-ranked Spain 69-62 to move atop Group C at 2-0, ensuring a spot in the second round. European champion Spain must now beat Canada on Saturday to have a chance of advancing beyond pool play.

Canada, coming off a loss to Australia, is second in the group after beating Syria 99-53.

African champion Egypt beat Iran 95-91 in the first match at the tournament to go into overtime, after the teams were tied 84-84 at the end of regulation.

"If we lost the match we take the first flight out," Egypt captain Osama Mohammad said. "Our dream is to make a good ranking, so we fought with all our efforts to close the score. This group is Egypt and Iran for us. One will reach (the) second round, one will go home."

Kostas Papanikolaou had 25 points and Vlantimir Giankovits 24 for Greece, which topped Group A with a 107-98 win over Puerto Rico.

Croatia beat host New Zealand 79-72 to overtake Argentina on points differential atop Group D, while Lithuania rebounded from a loss to Puerto Rico with an easy 104-46 win over Angola.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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