BARCELONA, Spain (AP) – Rivals Spain and France will meet again in the quarterfinals of the Basketball World Cup after both won in the round of 16 on Saturday.
Pau Gasol scored 13 of his 17 points in the first quarter as host Spain routed Senegal 89-56 to remain unbeaten after having also dominated all five games of the group phase.
France, meanwhile, had to overcome an early deficit to eliminate Croatia 69-64, as Nicolas Batum scored 14 points and Evan Fournier had 13 for the European champion.
“Once again Spain, and once again it will be a fight,” France’s Mickael Gelabale said. “We have three days to prepare for this game. France and Spain is like a clasico game, and everybody is waiting for it.”
The neighbouring countries have clashed in the past two summers, with Spain ousting France in the 2012 Olympics, and France getting revenge in last year’s European championship.
And just three days ago, Spain beat France 88-64 in the group phase. They will meet again on Wednesday in the Madrid.
On the other side of the bracket held in Barcelona, the United States and Slovenia advanced with wins and will play on Tuesday.
Stephen Curry hit six 3-pointers and scored 20 points to help the US ease to an 86-63 victory over Mexico, which was saved from greater defeat by Gustavo Ayon’s 25 points.
Klay Thompson added 15 points at the Palau Sant Jordi Pavilion as the Americans also remained unbeaten.
While Curry and Thompson hit from outside, Kenneth Faried and DeMarcus Cousins took turns playing well in the paint.
Faried provided bursts of energized play to a lethargic first half. The forward hustled for seven rebounds – he finished with eight – and eight points in the first half. Cousins then took over and scored 11 points in the second half.