Gasol brothers star as Spain advances in European Championship | Inquirer Sports

Gasol brothers star as Spain advances in European Championship

/ 06:00 AM September 10, 2011

Marc Gasol (R) and Pau Gasol of Spain vie with Milan Macvan of Serbia during a 2011 European championship second round group E, basketball game in Vilnius. AFP/JANEK SKARZYNSKI

VILNIUS—Reigning champions Spain booked their ticket to the quarter-finals of the European Championship with a dominating victory over Serbia on Friday while hosts France and Germany both grabbed wins as well.

Pau Gasol collected 26 points and eight rebounds and brother Marc Gasol added 20 points and 10 rebounds as Spain eased past Serbia 84-59 in the second round Group E encounter in Vilnius.

Juan Carlos Navarro chipped in 14 points and five assists in improving Spain’s record to 3-1 in the group.

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“I am very satisfied with this win for many reasons. I thank my players for executing our game plan and playing at a high tempo from the start,” said Spain coach Sergio Scariolo.

“We wanted to show everybody that we are a good team and I think we did that today.”

The 2009 silver medalists Serbia remained alive for a spot in the final eight – and a berth at the 2012 Olympics in London – despite dropping to 1-3 in the group.

“Spain were absolutely better than us today. Their desire was incredible. Mental toughness was on the Spanish side,” said Serbian coach Dusan Ivkovic.

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If Serbia, who saw Nenad Krstic net 12 points and seven rebounds, beat Turkey on Sunday then Ivkovic’s men will reach the quarters.

Nando de Colo meanwhile had 13 of his 21 points and three of his five steals in the fourth quarter as France remained perfect at the tournament with a 73-67 victory over hosts Lithuania.

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Tony Parker added 19 points for the French while Joakim Noah collected nine points and 13 rebounds. Lithuania dropped to 2-2 despite 13 points from Simas Jasaitis.

Germany is also alive for the final eight thanks to a 73-67 win over Turkey.

Philipp Schwethelm scored 11 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter and Dirk Nowitzki struggled to score 19 points, but hit four free throws to ice the game in the final 19 seconds. Chris Kaman collected 20 points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots for Germany while Heiko Schaffartzik had 10 points, five rebounds and five assists.

“We overcame the first hurdle and now we have to see what the other teams do. I hope that we can have a bit of a final on Sunday and that the place is packed and it means for us, win or go home and not that the other teams play so that we go home,” said Nowitzki.

In order to advance, Germany must beat Lithuania and hope for Turkey to defeat Serbia.

A Lithuanian win would leave Serbia or Turkey as the fourth team in the quarters from the group. The Lithuanians can’t lose big or they can also be eliminated in a three-way tie. Turkey needs a victory and Lithuania loss to advance.

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Group F returns to action on Saturday.

TAGS: Basketball, European Championship, Pau Gasol, Spain, Sports

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