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World Cup Roundup, Day 4: Luka Dončić dominates, Spain advances to next round

BASKET-WC-2023-GEO-SLO

Slovenia’s Luka Doncic (R) and Georgia’s Rati Andronikashvili vie for the ball during the FIBA Basketball World Cup group F match between Georgia and Slovenia at Okinawa Arena in Okinawa on August 28, 2023. (Photo by Yuichi YAMAZAKI / AFP) (Photo by YUICHI YAMAZAKI/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

The USA advanced to the second round of group play at the FIBA World Cup with their comfortable win against Greece on Monday. Here’s the other action for the day.

Slovenia 88, Georgia 67

Luka Doncic is the best player at the World Cup and reminded everyone with a masterful 34-point, 10 rebound, six assist effort to lead Slovenia to a victory. With that, Slovenia advances to the next round of the World Cup.

Georgia now needs to beat Venezuela on Wednesday to ensure it goes through to the next round (it is possible they win and still don’t advance, depending on the Slovenia and Cape Verde game, but most likely if George wins it’s next game it moves on in the tournament).

New Zealand 95, Jordan 87 (OT)

Former Nets lottery pick Rondae Hollis Jefferson — who has transformed his look and parts of his game to resemble Kobe Bryant — scored 39, grabbed nine boards, and hit 3-pointer-and-one to force overtime with just :10 seconds for Jordan.

Ultimately, Hollis Jefferson’s heroics were not enough. Izayah Le’afa scored 23 points and Shea Ili added 15 for New Zealand, which is now 1-1 at the World Cup.

New Zealand will face Greece on Wednesday in a showdown game — winner advances, loser goes home.

Jordan cannot advance and will face the United States in its final game.

Spain 96, Brazil 78

Defending World Cup champions Spain advances out of group play and on to the next round in 2023 with this win over Brazil, behind 14 points from Willy Hernangómez and 13 each from Juan Nunez and the Grizzlies’ Santi Aldama.

Former NBA player Bruno Caboclo had 15 points and 11 rebounds for Brazil, which now faces Côte d’Ivoire on Wednesday in a win-or-go-home showdown.

Serbia 94, Puero Rico 77

Serbia may be without their biggest star (Nikola Jokić is still partying in Sombor), but the nation has two other NBA players on their roster and they made the difference in this one.

The Heat’s Nikola Jovic scored 11 of his 17 points in the first quarter, then the Hawks Bogdan Bogdanovic took over and also finished with 17. Serbia was in control from the outset, led by 30 at the half, and with the win is 2-0 and advances to the next round of the World Cup.

Puerto Rico (1-1) is still in a strong position to advance to the next round if it can beat China on Wednesday and if Serbia stays focused and knocks off South Sudan.

Côte d’Ivoire 71, Iran 69

Down one late, Solo Diabate drained three free throws — one for a technical foul on the Iranian coach — that proved to be the game winners for the African nation. Nisre Zouzoua led Côte d’Ivoire with 17 points.

Côte d’Ivoire (1-1) plays Brazil on Wednesday in a game where the winner advances and the loser goes home.

Cape Verde 81, Venezuela 75

Cape Verde trailed by 13 at the half but stormed back for the win behind 22 points from Betinho Gomes and another 20 by Will Tavares. The win keeps Cape Verde’s dreams of advancing out of the group stage alive, but they will need to beat Luka Dončić and Slovenia and hope that Venezuela rises up to beat Georgia for those dreams to come true. Still, it was a massive win for a country overlooked coming into the World Cup.