GRANADA, Spain (AP) - Ricky Rubio’s quick hands set the tone and Marc Gasol had a game-high 17 points as Spain beat France 88-64 Wednesday to remain undefeated at the Basketball World Cup.
Rubio had five assists, three steals and two drives down the lane for layups in the first quarter in his 100th appearance for the national team, with the Minnesota Timberwolves point guard looking eager to atone for Spain’s loss to France at last year’s European Championship.
Rubio struggled later, but Spain was never threatened down the stretch.
France focused on containing Pau Gasol, but the Chicago Bulls player still scored 15 points to nearly match his brother Marc.
The closest France got was 19-19, but Juan Carlos Navarro sunk a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to end the first quarter. Navarro then drained another 3 followed by Marc also scoring from long range.
And France never came close again.
“I am disappointed with the score spread, because we started quite well,” said France coach Vincent Collet. “When you let them go they become unstoppable.”
France, playing without star Tony Parker, was kept afloat by Nicolas Batum and Antoine Diot with 11 points each.
Spain (4-0) returns to the raucous Palacio de Deportes to play Serbia (2-2) on Thursday, when France (2-2) faces Egypt (0-4) to close Group A.
Also in Granada, forward Marquinhos Vieira made six 3-pointers in a 81-73 win for Brazil (3-1) after it weathered Serbia’s explosive third quarter, when it erased an 18-point deficit.
At other venues, the U.S., Greece and Slovenia also improved to 4-0 to remain in first place in their groups with one game to go.
U.S. forward Kenneth Faried kept up his sharp shooting as he led the U.S. with 16 points in a 106-71 over the Dominican Republic (2-2) in Group C in Bilbao.
In Group B in Seville, Greece dished out 23 assists to beat Croatia 76-65 with forwards Kostas Papanikolaou and Kostas Kaimakoglou scoring 14 points each.
Goran Dragic of the Phoenix Suns scored 14 points and Slovenia avoided an upset, holding off Angola 93-87 in Group D in Gran Canaria.
Point guard Roberto Fortes scored 21 points while center Yanick Moreira added 20 more for Angola (1-3).