BEIJING, Aug. 31 -- Powerhouses Serbia and Spain bagged their opening wins easily as hosts China snatched its first Group A win by beating Cote d'Ivoire 70-55 here on Saturday at 2019 FIBA World Cup.
One of the World Cup title favorites Serbia tamed Angola 105-59 in Group D. Bogdan Bogdanovic led Serbia's scoring sheet with 24 points. Nikola Jokic and Nikola Milutinov scored 14 apiece. Serbia made 13 of 20 three-pointer shooting, and outclassed Angola 32-7 in assists.
"We played a great game from the beginning until the end. We are tough and strong, and mentally we are ready," Milutinov pointed out after the game.
"They are a really good team, and shot the ball very well," said Angola's coach William Voigt.
A crazy second half helped Spain trounce Tunisia 101-62 in Group C. Spain showed near perfection in overall attack with six players scoring in the double digits. Ricky Rubio had a game-high 17 points and Sergio Llull added 16. Salah Mejri scored 15 points for Tunisia.
With an 11-0 run in the beginning of the second half, Spain controlled well and the game flowed at a comfortable rhythm for the side. Spain increased their lead to 72-47 by the end of third quarter. The game later turned into a slaughter as Spain kept scoring easy baskets in the fourth.
Yi Jianlian and Guo Ailun combined 36 points in China's win over Cote d'Ivoire. The former Milwaukee Bucks player Yi led scoring sheet with 19 points, 17 of which came from the second half, while Guo Ailun contributed 17 points and 9 assists for the host.
"We did a great job tonight. The tough defense of our rivalry caused us lots of troubles in the first half, but we were more concentrated in the second. Although we didn't make many long range shots, we got better on both ends," said Li Nan, the head coach of the Chinese side.
"I didn't realize that our opponents would show such great physical strength before the match. But we stayed patient and took the big opening win," said 26-year-old point guard Guo Ailun.
"Every single game is crucial to us. Poland is a strong team. They are better than Cote d'Ivoire if looked at overall. We need to prepare for more difficulties in the upcoming game," added Li Nan, whose team will play against Poland in the second round of the tournament on Monday.
Other action saw Poland deliver great teamwork in beating Venezuela 80-69 on Saturday. Russia won over Nigeria 82-77 in Group B. Mikhail Kulagin of Russia earned 16 points, and Audrey Zubkov added 12, plus four assists and four rebounds for the winner. Nigeria's Josh Okogie led the game with 18 points.
Puerto Rico came back from 19 points down to win over Iran 83-81 in the opening game of Group C. In Group D, Italy took control of the first quarter to seal a 108-62 victory over the Philippines.
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