Gasol shines in Spanish win over France

Updated: September 17, 2009, 6:25 PM ET
Associated Press

KATOWICE, Poland -- World champion Spain has beaten France 86-66, and Serbia upset Russia 79-68 Thursday to advance to the semifinals of the European basketball championship.

Serbia turned up the defensive pressure in the second quarter against the defending champions, taking control with a 17-0 run to build a 38-24 lead. Russia couldn't get closer than 10 points the rest of the game.

"We deserved this victory," Serbia coach Dusan Ivkovic. "The key to the game was the bench."

Serbia held Russia without a field goal for seven minutes, a stretch that included five turnovers and three missed layups. Guard Uros Tripkovic scored 18 points to lead Serbia, while center Kosta Perovic added 13 points and five rebounds.

"They really defended hard, and we stopped playing and we gave into that," Russia coach David Blatt said. "It took us another quarter to recover."

Vitalii Fridzon had 15 points for Russia, which had only three players from the team that upset Spain in the 2007 final.

Spain dominated previously undefeated France, running out to an early 23-12 lead and extending with hot shooting and a smothering defense that held Tony Parker to just six points.

Center Pau Gasol led Spain with 28 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots. Guard Rudy Fernandez added 16 points and six steals.

Spain, which is looking for its first European title after finishing runner-up six times, will play either Greece or Turkey in the semifinals on Saturday.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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