Brazil are joint-top with United States of America, with a 80-65 win over Tunisia in Istanbul.
Leandro Barbosa led all scorers for Brazil with 21 points, San Antonio Spur, Tiago Splitter added 16. Tunisia were led Marouan Kechrid, who hit 15 points in vain.
Tunisia managed to stay in touch for the first three minutes of the fourth – but, buckets from Giovannoni and a three-pointer from Marcelo Machado extended Brazil’s lead to 71-56, and Brazil comfortably saw the game out, as the Tunisian legs were fading.
The game started at a frenetic pace. Tunisia started brighter, as they raced out to a 7-2 lead early doors – but, once Brazil’s Marcelo Huertas stole the ball of an inbound – the South Americans got the advantage, and Barbosa rattled in 16 points in a first quarter, that belonged to the Brazilians. As they took a 26-16 lead at end of one.
Brazil kept a lid on matters in the second period, as a Wellington Dos Santos bucket, gave his team a 37-22 lead, and forced Tunisian coach, Adel Tlatli to call a timeout. By the time the end of the half came though, Brazil had extended their lead (43-30).
A competitive third quarter saw Tunisia battle back, as a 7-0 run brought them to within eight (37-45). Barbosa hit-back with a lay-up on the fast break. Buckets were traded, with Radmouane Slimane providing the scoring touch for the Tunisians. Barbosa continued to leave his mark, with 21 points going into the final quarter. Brazil up, 59-48.
“Tunisia came in and played well.” Said Brazil’s Joao Batista at the after-game press conference.
“It was very difficult for us to guard because they can all shoot, they can all dribble. Batista continued: “We did damage inside, with Tiago (Splitter), (Leandro) Barbosa was good on the fast-break, and that gave us the edge.”
Brazil will next play USA – in a game of Group B’s undefeated sides.
John Hobbs for TalkBasket.net – in Istanbul.