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U.S. men’s basketball team beats Giannis-less Greece at FIBA World Cup, advances

FIBA World Cup

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - AUGUST 28: Jalen Brunson #11 of USA passes the ball during the FIBA Basketball World Cup Group C game between Greece and United States at Mall of Asia Arena on August 28, 2023 in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines. (Photo by Ezra Acayan/Getty Images)

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The U.S. men’s basketball team clinched a spot in the last 16 of the FIBA World Cup by winning its first two games.

The U.S. beat Greece (without Giannis Antetokounmpo) 109-81 on Monday, two days after dispatching New Zealand 99-72 in the Philippines.

Austin Reaves scored 15 points with six assists and five rebounds for an American team entirely made up of global championship rookies and coached by Steve Kerr.

The U.S. finishes the first group stage against Jordan on Wednesday, but it’s already assured of advancing to the next group stage.

FIBA WORLD CUP: Schedule, Results

The World Cup began with eight groups of four teams. The next stage will be four groups of four teams, which will determine the quarterfinalists.

The U.S.’ next group will include the winner of Wednesday’s game between Greece and New Zealand, plus Lithuania and Montenegro. The results from the first group stage carry over, so the U.S. will not play Greece/New Zealand again in the second group stage.

The Americans look to regain the world title four years after placing seventh, the program’s worst finish in an international tournament. The U.S. rebounded to win a fourth consecutive Olympic title in Tokyo.

The top two teams from the Americas qualify for the Paris Olympics. There are also last-chance qualifying tournaments next year, likely in June.