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Serbia and Montenegro Eliminated from World Basketball Championships


Two-time defending champion Serbia and Montenegro has been knocked out of the World Basketball Championships in Saitama, Japan, but Olympic champion Argentina reached the quarterfinals.

Spain defeated the Serbs, 87-75, thanks in part to 19 points from Memphis Grizzlies center Pau Gasol.

The Spaniards now take on Lithuania, which scored a 71-68 win over Italy Saturday in a game that saw both teams missing crucial free throws during a wild, heart-stopping final minute.

Arvydas Macijauskas led with 15 points, including eight straight in the fourth quarter as part of a 12-4 run that gave Lithuania a 66-56 lead with four minutes remaining. But the Italians answered with an 11-3 run, to pull within two points with just over a minute left. Lithuania made the go-ahead basket with just two seconds left, then watched as Italy missed five consecutive free throws, including three by Gianluca Basile, that ended the game.

Meanwhile, Argentina got 28 points from San Antonio Spurs star guard Manu Ginobili on its way to a 79-63 win over New Zealand. Argentina takes on Turkey, which ousted Slovenia, 90-84. Serkan Erdogan led the Turks with 24 points.

On Sunday, the United States takes on Australia with the winner facing either Nigeria or Germany. France faces African champion Angola and the winner takes on either European champion Greece or China.

The quarterfinals begin Tuesday. The semifinals are Friday, September 1, and the Championship is Sunday September 3.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.