Arroyo helps Puerto Rico bounce back

Updated: August 20, 2006, 12:35 PM ET
Associated Press

Carlos Arroyo helped Puerto Rico rebound from a loss to the United States, beating Senegal 88-79 as the FIBA World Championship continued on Sunday in Japan.

In other action, Germany survived a poor shooting night from Dirk Nowitzki to beat New Zealand, while Argentina, Italy, Spain and Angola all improved to 2-0.

Group D
Puerto Rico 88, Senegal 79
Arroyo scored 29 points and hit the first of three straight 3-pointers during the game's decisive run as Puerto Rico bounced back at Sapporo.

Elias Ayuso added 20 points for the Puerto Ricans (1-1), who built a big early lead, blew all of it, then recovered to even their record after losing 111-100 to the United States in their opener.

Makhtar N'Diaye and Babacar Cisse each scored 14 points for Senegal (0-2), which got off to a horrendous start but came all the way back to grab a 67-66 lead with 6:56 remaining when Malick Badiane capped a 10-0 run with a dunk.

But Arroyo, Ayuso and Christian Dalmau all made 3-pointers in a span of just over a minute, giving the Puerto Ricans a 75-67 advantage with under 5 minutes to go. They were never seriously threatened again.

Italy 80, Slovenia 69
Marco Belinelli scored 26 points as Italy (2-0) rallied from a double-digit deficit to beat Slovenia at Sapporo.

Radoslav Nesterovic had 17 points and Jaka Lakovic added 14 to lead Slovenia (1-1), making its first appearance in the worlds.

Nesterovic, who plays for the Toronto Raptors, ripped open his shirt after Italy (2-0) scored on a fast break to take a 64-58 lead early in the fourth quarter.

A trainer taped the jersey and Nesterovic returned to the floor and immediately knocked down a 3-pointer to spark a 6-0 run that tied the game at 64-64. One minute later, Nesterovic dunked on consecutive possessions to put Slovenia ahead 68-66.

Slovenia stretched the lead to 71-66 before the Italians went on an 8-0 run to take a 74-71 lead with 1:04 to play. After Nesterovic missed a 3, Belinelli made two free throws to give Italy a 76-71 lead.

Lakovic hit a 3 and scored while drawing a foul to pull the Slovenians to 78-76 with 17 seconds to go. After Lakovic missed a free throw, Italy's Matteo Soragna hit two free with 15 seconds to play to ice the game.

Group A
Argentina 107, Lebanon 72
Walter Herrmann scored 23 points and Luis Scola added 18 Sunday as Argentina rested its stars at Sendai.

Argentina (2-0), runner-up at the 2002 world championship in Indianapolis, took control early with a 29-9 lead after the opening period.

NBA stars Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs and Andres Nocioni of the Chicago Bulls were used sparingly by coach Sergio Hernandez. Ginobili, who had 25 points in Argentina's win over France on Saturday, finished with seven points in 15 minutes. Nocioni also had seven points in 18 minutes.

Lebanon (1-1) won its opening game 82-72 over Venezuela but was no match for the Olympic champions, who widened the lead to 80-51 heading into the final period.

France 65, Serbia and Montenegro 61
Boris Diaw of the Phoenix Suns made four free throws in the final six seconds as France sent Serbia and Montenegro to their second straight loss.

Diaw sealed the outcome with four seconds left after Igor Rakocevic missed a free throw that would have pulled Serbia and Montenegro within a point.

Diaw led France with 20 points and was 8-for-10 from the foul line.

Rakocevic, who played one season for the Minnesota Timberwolves, led Serbia and Montenegro with 22 points.

Playing again without injured guard Tony Parker, France took a 48-44 lead after the third quarter of a physical, defensive game. Parker broke his right index finger in a tuneup game against Brazil in China last week and pulled out of the tournament on Friday.

France (1-1) lost to Argentina on Saturday and has now played two of the toughest teams in Group A. Serbia and Montenegro (0-2) lost its opener to Nigeria and still must face Argentina.

Venezuela 84, Nigeria 77
Victor Diaz scored 24 points, including a 3-pointer with 20 seconds left, as Venezuela (1-1) survived a late run by Nigeria at Sendai.

Diaz was 6-for-10 from the 3-point line, and Oscar Torres and Miguel Marriaga each added 14 points to give the South Americans their first win.

Venezuela, which lost 82-72 to Lebanon in its opening match, took control of the match in the second quarter, scoring 26 points to take a 42-27 lead.

Nigeria (1-1) upset defending champion Serbia-Montenegro 82-75 on Saturday but struggled against Venezuela and trailed 64-49 heading into the final period.

Ebi Ere, who scored 13 points, hit a pair of 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter to pull Nigeria within seven points but it wasn't enough.

Ime Udoka, who played for the New York Knicks last season, led Nigeria with 23 points.

Group B
Angola 87, Japan 62
Carlos Almeida scored 19 points and Angola (2-0) made 12 3-pointers to beat host Japan at Hiroshima.

Almeida, who had 22 points in the opening win over Panama, hit two of his three 3s at the end of the second quarter when the African champions started to break the game open.

Japan (0-2) used a patient offense and got off to a good start again as it did in its opening loss to Germany, leading 21-16 after the first quarter. But 6-foot-7 power forward Joaquin Gomes, who played at Valparaiso from 2000-04, had a blocked shot and three offensive rebounds to key the 14-0 start of a 22-4 run that gave Angola a 34-25 lead with 3:53 left in the first half. Almeida hit two 3s in the final 1:06 of the half as Angola went up 44-32 at the break.

Abdel Azis Moussa had 16 points and 14 rebounds for Angola, which kept control throughout the second half and led by as many 30 points, 83-53 with 1:30 to play. A win over New Zealand on Monday would ensure a place in the round of 16 for Angola, which finished 11th in the 2002 World Championship.

Kosuke Takeuchi had 13 points to lead Japan.

Germany 80, New Zealand 56
At Hiroshima, Germany showed there is a lot more to its team than Nowitzki, using 3-pointers and some staunch defense to overcome a poor shooting game from its NBA star.

His teammates were on fire from long range, going 10-for-19 from beyond the arc in taking a 38-17 halftime lead. Robert Garrett had four of the first-half 3s for Germany (2-0), which held a 23-13 rebound advantage after 20 minutes, holding New Zealand (0-2) to 23 percent shooting (5-for-22), including 2-for-12 on 3s.

Demond Greene had 18 points and Garrett added 14 for Germany.

Kirk Penney had 12 points for New Zealand, which played again without starting point guard Mark Dickel, who was suspended by FIBA for 10 days following a positive drug test.

Spain 101, Panama 57
Pau Gasol had 26 points and 10 rebounds and was a key part of each of Spain's big scoring runs in opening-round play at Hiroshima.

The 7-foot Gasol, who plays for the Memphis Grizzlies, combined with Jorge Garbajosa to score Spain's first nine points as it opened the game with a 12-2 run. He and Garbajosa combined for the final eight points of the half as Spain (2-0) took a 47-27 lead.

Gasol's three-point play on an alley-oop dunk off a pass from Carlos Jimenez started a 13-0 run that gave Spain a 70-38 lead with 1:17 left in the third quarter.

Rudy Fernandez had 21 points for Spain, while Berni Rodriguez added 15 and Garbajosa had 10.

Ruben Douglas, Jamie Lloreda and Dionisio Gomez each had nine points for Panama (0-2), which will play Japan on Monday in a matchup of winless teams.

Group C
Greece 81, Lithuania 76, OT
European champion Greece stayed unbeaten at Hamamatsu, defeating Lithuania behind 15 points from Vassilis Spanoulis.

It was the second close loss in two nights for Lithuania, which was beaten by Turkey on Saturday on two late free throws. Lithuania upset the United States in the preliminary round at the 2004 Olympics.

Darius Songaila scored 18 points and Linas Kleiza added 14 for Lithuania.

With the score 69-69 entering overtime, Greece (2-0) quickly took control, going up by four points before holding on. Greece led 22-18 after the first quarter and 44-37 at halftime.

Brazil 97, Qatar 66
Center Tiago Splitter scored 18 points Sunday and Brazil cruised at Hamamatsu.

Brazil (1-1), which lost to Australia 83-77 on Saturday, put on a 14-4 scoring spurt early in the opening quarter en route to a 51-29 halftime lead at Hamamatsu Arena.

Qatar (0-2), making its first appearance at the worlds, lost 84-64 to European champion Greece on Saturday. A day later, the Middle Eastern side found itself under constant pressure by a relentless Brazilian defense.

Brazil's two NBA stars, Leandro Barbosa of the Phoenix Suns and Anderson Varejao of the Cleveland Cavaliers helped Brazil control the play in the first half and were used sparingly after the break. Barbosa, still nursing an injured hand, finished with six points and Varejao, who suffered a foot injury before the championships, added 13.

Mosa Daoud was Qatar's top scorer with 16 points.

Turkey 76, Australia 68
Forward Irsan Ilyasova scored 17 points Sunday and Turkey came back from a six-point deficit after three quarters to beat Australia at Hamamatsu.

Ibrahim Kutluay added 15 points and Kaya Peker had 12 for Turkey (2-0).

C.J. Bruton scored 24 points to lead Australia (1-1). Jason Smith added nine points while Milwaukee Bucks center Andrew Bogut had eight.

The American-born Bruton had 15 points in the first half to help Australia outscore Turkey 28-10 in the second quarter to take a 40-26 lead at halftime.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press