For the first time in 25 years, Italy is going to the quarterfinals of the Basketball World Cup.
Stefano Tonut and Giampaolo Ricci each scored 15 points and Italy reached the World Cup quarterfinals with a 73-57 win over Puerto Rico on Sunday in Manila, the final day of second-round play at FIBA’s biggest tournament.
Italy (4-1) will play either the U.S. or Lithuania in Tuesday’s quarterfinals in Manila. The Italians are assured of their best World Cup finish since placing sixth in 1998. They were ninth in 2006, 10th in 2019 and didn’t qualify in 2002, 2010 and 2014.
Simone Fontecchio added 12 points and 12 rebounds for Italy, and Luigi Datome scored 11. Italy used a 15-0 run in the first quarter to take some control, wound up losing that lead in the third quarter, rallied to take a slight edge into the final period and pulled away from there.
Tremont Waters scored 13 points and had nine assists for Puerto Rico (3-2), and Jordan Howard scored 11. Puerto Rico was bidding for its first World Cup quarterfinal trip since 2002.
At Okinawa, Patty Mills scored 19 points and Australia had five players reach double figures in a relatively easy win over Georgia in a classification-round game that ended the tournament run for both teams.
Dante Exum had 18, Duop Reath added 16, Josh Giddey scored 15 and Joe Ingles finished with 10 for the Boomers (3-2).
Both teams were previously eliminated from advancing to the quarterfinals. Australia, the Olympic bronze medallist two summers ago in Tokyo, saw its hopes end Friday with a 90-81 loss to Slovenia. But Australia did achieve one goal at this World Cup, clinching a spot in next summer’s Paris Olympics.
Playing in its first World Cup, Georgia was led by Goga Bitadze with 20. Thaddus McFadden had 18 points and nine assists for Georgia (2-3).
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