25 August, 2023
10 September
10 Andres Feliz (DOM)
Game Report
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Feliz Navidad: Andres and Dominicans shoot their way past Italy, take driver's seat in Group A

MANILA (Philippines) - Dominican Republic took the driver's seat for first place in Group A of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 as they rallied from a slow start and beat Italy 87-82 thanks to 16 three-pointers.

The Dominicans improved to 2-0 in the group as they defeated Italy for the first time after losing their only previous game - a 79-59 loss in the Semi-Finals of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament Belgrade 2020. 


Italian head coach Gianmarco Pozzecco was ejected from the game with 2:20 minutes left in the first half with his second technical foul - and third on the bench - leaving assistant Edoardo Casalone to lead the team. Pozzecco famously was kicked out of Italy's Round of 16 game at the FIBA EuroBasket 2022 and the team rallied under Casalone's guidance to bounce Serbia.


Turning Point: Dominican Republic were up 46-44 early in the third quarter and then mounted a 16-4 run to pull ahead 62-48. They remained in control and led by as many as 17 points until the closing minutes when Italy scratched their way back to within 3 points with 17 seconds to go. But Lestor Quinones made two free throws to save the game.

TCL Player of the Game: Andres Feliz could not be stopped from the outside for the Dominicans as he drained 7-of-10 three-pointers in scoring 24 points. He also chipped in 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 1 block.

Stats Don't Lie: The Dominicans hit 16 three-pointers - three more than made two-pointers. The Caribbean side also converted 16 second chance points to just 2 for Italy. Dominican Republic's defense harrased Italy into shooting 24 percent from long range.

Bottom Line: The Dominicans took a big step towards reaching the top 16 for the third straight World Cup and will in fact be in the second stage if Philippines beat Angola later in the day. Dominican Republic will finish the group stage on Tuesday, August 29 when they take on Angola. Italy still have good chances of reaching the Second Round as long as they can bounce back and defeat Philippines later on Tuesday. 

They Said: "Anything can happen on any day. Today, it worked for us. Today was for us. We had to believe it. We needed to believe we could beat these teams. And we believe that God is with us." - Dominican Republic coach Nestor Garcia

"It was a good second half for us. Just being disciplined and finding ways to keep our World Cup lives going. Super nice way to get a win. I'm super happy for us, man. It was amazing. I mean it's huge. We came in and won. Our country has been yearning for these moments, and I'm glad we're able to give it. Next up is Angola so we gotta do it again. We have to keep fighting and keep playing like this." - Dominican Republic forward Karl-Anthony Towns

"We did it. We battled from the beginning. We did not start the way we wanted, but this is a basketball game. We couldn't let down so we locked down on defense and won the game." - Dominican Republic guard Andres Feliz

"I'm living a dream here at the World Cup. I just want to compete with my guys, my teammates. We came out with a lot of intensity in this game and a lot of defense." - Dominican Republic guard Jean Montero

"I think our players played a good game at the beginning. We were up and we were controlling the game. They came back into the game and that is natural when you play against a good team. Dominican Republic is a good team, they are well coached and have an important player. In the third quarter we shot badly. We shot 24 percent (on three-pointers for the game). It happens. But I think we played a great game at the end, getting back into the game and trying to win it. We have to move forward and think that we came back." - Italy assistant coach Edoardo Casalone

"We started the game well and we were controlling it. They started creating good shots and were good enough to make a lot of them. Vice versa, we created good shots but could not make them. Our percentages were not very good for us. For a team like us, if you don't shoot well from three you have to be almost perfect in all the other aspects of the game. We were close, because we controlled the boards and shot well from two and not too many turnovers. Congrats to them. For us, nothing. Be ready for the next one. Of course it will be very important." - Italy forward Luigi Datome

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