Karl-Anthony Towns and the Dominican Republic kept their perfect pace at the Basketball World Cup and snagged a second-round ticket.
Towns and point guard Andrés Feliz each scored 24 points, and the Dominicans hit 16 three-pointers en route to an 87-82 victory over Italy in a Group A game in Manila on Sunday.
Feliz was the originator of all seven threes for the winning goal (2-0). Towns finished the game with 11 rebounds, while Jean Montero had 12 points, nine assists, six rebounds, and three rebounds.
“We’re doing the job,” said Towns, a power forward for the Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA. “We did well and found a way to win. Andrés and all the other shooters were sensational. It’s a great team win.”
Italy (1-1) led 12-0 early in the game but barely held onto the 39-38 lead after the first half, and coach Gianmarco Pozzecco was sent off in the second quarter for his second technical foul.
The game turned completely in the third quarter, as the Dominicans beat the Italians 31-17 in those 10 minutes and then resisted a reaction in the last third.
Marco Spissu stood out with 17 points for Italy, while Simone Fontecchio scored 13, Giampaolo Ricco added 12, and Achille Polonara added 10.
Italy will complete Tuesday’s group stage against the Philippines, while the Dominican Republic meets Angola.
The Italians need to win on Tuesday to progress but they admitted it could be difficult to face the hosts.
“It’s going to be electric,” commented Luigi Datome. “We’re going to have a pretty nice atmosphere, we like to play with that atmosphere.”
GROUP E – GERMANY 85, AUSTRALIA 82
In Okinawa, Dennis Schroder secured Germany a place in the second round with 30 points and 08 assists. Maodo Lo scored 20 goals for the Germans, who closed a four-point deficit early in the fourth quarter.
Patty Mills, like in the first game, led Australia with 21 points, five rebounds and six assists.
GROUP H – CANADA 128, LEBANON 73
In Jakarta, RJ Barrett grabbed 17 points as Canada beat Lebanon in perfect speed.
Trae Bell-Haynes recorded 15 points and eight assists for Canada (2-1) who clinched an impressive 95-65 victory over France. Canada set a World Cup record with 44 assists. FIBA began counting assists in 1984.
GROUP D – MONTENEGRO 89, EGYPT 74
In Manila, Nikola Vucevic recorded 16 points and seven rebounds and Montenegro (2-0) didn’t have much of a surprise against Egypt
The difference in the duel was the ball losses. Montenegro capitalized on 22 of Egypt’s 30-point defeats. Egypt converted 17 points of Montenegro’s 16 defeats.