Ranked number five in the world coming in, Greece easily dispatched Senegal, 87-64 in the opening round of the World Cup basketball championships in Spain on Aug. 30.
The rout was bigger than the score indicated with 6-8 forward Kostas Kaimakoglou lighting up the nets with 20 points to go along with eight rebounds as Greece easily brushed back an athletic and big Senegal team that hadn’t played in the event in eight years.
A rising star, 19-year-old Yiannis Antetonkoumpo, a Nigerian immigrant who plays for the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA, was second high-scorer for Greece with 11 points and wowed with his athleticism and moves.
Greece now plays a tougher Philippines squad on Aug. 31.
In other action, Marcelinho Huertas had 16 points and five assists, and Brazil held on to edge European champion France 65-63. The French were playing without star Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs who didn’t want to participate.
His Spurs’ teammate, Boris Diaw, had 15 points, six rebounds and five assists but the Antetonkoumpo’s Cleveland Cavaliers’ Anderson Varejao blocked his 3-point attempt as time expired in the Group A game.
Serbia beat Egypt 85-64 in the opening game in Granada, while host Spain played Iran at night.
Bojan Bogdanovic of the Brooklyn Nets scored 26 points to help Croatia pull out an 81-78 victory over the Philippines, which got 28 points and 12 rebounds from American Andray Blatche, their naturalized player. Blatche played last season with the Nets but doesn’t have an NBA contract for next season.
Also in Group B in Seville, Luis Scola of the Indiana Pacers had 20 points and nine rebounds to power Argentina past Puerto Rico, 98-75. Andres Nocioni added 18 points and 11 rebounds, while New York Knicks guard and fellow longtime Argentine star Pablo Prigioni chipped in nine points and 10 assists.
The defending champion U.S. played against Finland in Group C. Earlier at Bilbao, Turkey rallied with a big fourth quarter to beat New Zealand 76-73; and Ukraine got 16 points from Pooh Jeter to beat Dominican Republic 72-62.
Goran Dragic of the Phoenix Suns had 21 points and seven rebounds to lead Slovenia to a 90-80 victory over Australia in Group D. Angola started the action in the Canary Islands by downing South Korea 80-69, while Lithuania and Mexico met in the late game.
(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)