US ease past Mexico Spain set up France rematch

Reigning champions United States and hosts Spain were hardly challenged on Saturday in advancing to the quarter-finals of the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup while Slovenia and France also joined them in the final eight.

Stephen Curry’s 20 points paced five players in double figures as the United States eased past rivals Mexico 86-63 in the last 16.

“We came out better in the first five minutes with a lot of energy. Our defense is the thing that’s keeping us going, to put pressure on our opponents and take away their offences,” said Curry.

“We were able to force the tempo and carry it over for the rest of the game.”

Curry’s Golden State Warriors teammate Klay Thompson added 15 points while captain James Harden hit for 12.

United States look to remain perfect and will next take on Slovenia in the quarters on Tuesday.

The Slovenians had a hard test but knocked off the Dominican Republic 71-61. Zoran Dragic poured in 18 points while his brother Goran had 12 points in the win in Barcelona.

In Madrid, Spain saw off Senegal 89-56 as Pau Gasol paced the hosts with 17 points – 13 of them coming in the first quarter.

Serge Ibaka, Felipe Reyes and Jose Calderon all added 11 points for the Spaniards, who led only 33-26 midway through the second quarter before really pulling away in the third quarter.

Spain’s next opponent will be France, who won a defensive battle against Croatia 69-64. Nicolas Batum paced France with 14 points while Evan Fournier added 13 points.

In their quarter-final match-up next Wednesday, France will be looking for revenge after Spain beat them 88-64 in first round play.

It is also a rematch of the 2013 European Championship semi-final, which France won en route to their European title.

“Once again Spain, and once again it will be a fight. We have three days to prepare for this game. France and Spain is like a classico game and everybody is waiting for it,” France forward Mickael Gelabale said.

The final four last 16 games will be played on Sunday with New Zealand taking on Lithuania, Serbia up against Greece, Turkey squaring off against Australia and Brazil battling Argentina.


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