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USA leave brave Slovenia behind, book Semi-Final date with Lithuania
BARCELONA (FIBA Basketball World Cup) - The reigning world champions USA tightened the screws in the third quarter to leave Slovenia behind and take a comfortable 119-76 win in the second Quarter-Final of the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup at the Palau Sant Jordi on Tuesday.
With the victory, Mike Krzyzewski's team moved a step closer in their quest to successfully defend their title in FIBA's flagship event.
They extended their unbeaten run in the competition to seven games and set up a Semi-Final clash against Lithuania, a team they faced four years ago at the same stage of the competition. On that occasion, at the 2010 FIBA World Championship, the USA prevailed 89-74 in that game en route to winning their fourth world title.
The USA needed almost two minutes to score their first field goal, which came by way of Kenneth Faried. The Denver Nuggets power forward, the team's second leading scorer at Spain 2014 behind Anthony Davis, went on to finish with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Once they got on the scoreboard and ran off seven unanswered points midway through the first period, the writing was on the wall.
Klay Thompson accounted for five points in that run to power Mike Krzyzewski's team ahead. The Golden State Warriors guard finished with a game-high 20 points.
Davis, who has the experience of winning the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics, provided the back-up whenever Slovenia threatened to bridge the gap and had a double-double of his own, with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Slovenia proved a hard nut to crack for a good part of the game, as Jure Zdovc's team were within seven, 29-22, at the end of the first quarter and maintained that distance at halftime, trailing 49-42.
However, as hard as Slovenia fought, the USA re-asserted their supremacy by scoring the first eight points as part of a 37-22 third quarter which took any wind left in Slovenia's sails as they headed into the final period down 76-64.
The fourth quarter was more of the same as the Americans outscored their opponents 33-12.
Goran and Zoran Draigc combined for 24 points and Domen Lorbek had a dozen.