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Scola powers Argentina to fifth straight win ahead of the Quarter-Finals
FOSHAN (China) - Argentina extended their FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 unbeaten run thanks to a comprehensive 91-65 win against Poland on Sunday in Foshan.
It was Argentina's fifth win in as many games as they switch their base to Shanghai where they will take on Serbia.
Luis Scola powered the Argentine offense with a game-high 21 points, Nicolas Brussino added 10 to his account, Facundo Campazzo ran the show with a game-best 6 assists and Marcos Delia contributed 12 points.
Meanwhile, Mateusz Ponitka, who led Poland with team-highs 16.5 points and 6.8 rebounds prior to Sunday's game, finished with 4 points while A.J. Slaughter came up with a 16-point performance and Karol Gruszecki added 11 points.
Turning Point: Poland managed a short-lived 5-4 lead thanks to a Mateusz Ponitika three-pointer, but Argentina regained the lead soon after to close the half with a commanding 42-27 lead. The South Americans went on to lead by as many as 31 points.
TCL Player of the Game: 39-year-old Scola ran the floor as if he were 15 years younger. He finished with his second highest scoring performance in China of 21 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assist. Scola did a bit of everything for Argentina, and it came as no surprise that he is acknowledged with the Player of the Game award.
Stats Don't Lie: Bench rotation proved to be a key factor, and Argentina made the most of their deep scoring options coming off the bench. By halftime, Argentina's bench had outscored Poland's 30-10. While the difference decreased to 32-31 at the end of the regulation, the damage was already done. Poland's 23 turnovers also proved really costly.
Bottom Line: Even though both teams were already qualified to the Quarter-Finals prior to the game, Argentina played as is if it was a Final. They deservedly head to the last eight thanks to a shiny team effort. Poland dropped to 4-1, and never looked like the team that left behind hosts China, Cote d'Ivoire, Venezuela and Russia.
They said: "Today we played really good basketball. We won the game in the defense. It was very important to start the game way we did." - Argentina head coach Sergio Hernandez
"It was a great team effort, and we played very smartly in the offensive end. We are very happy to have five wins in this tournament. " - Argentina forward Marcos Delia
"It was an opportunity to play against a team like that, but tonight wasn't an example of that. - Poland guard Anthony Darrel Slaughter
"Their pressure took us out of what we wanted to do. We were hesitant against the pressure, we were encouraging them to be more precise." - Poland head coach Mike Taylor