FIBA Americas, Day 1: Euroleague champs pace victories
A pair of Turkish Airlines Euroleague champions had major impact on first-night victories for their teams at the 2015 FIBA Americas Championship in Mexico City on Monday.
Real Madrid teammates Gustavo Ayon and Andres Nocioni had two of just four double-doubles recorded in four games to open the tournament. Ayon put together 18 points, 11 rebounds and 3 assists to lead host Mexico to a resounding 66-84 victory over Dominican Republic, for whom James Feldeine of Panathinaikos had 5 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists. A 15-30 third quarter in which Ayon had 6 points and 2 assists was the difference for Mexico. Eulis Baez of Eurocup runner-up Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas came off the bench for 6 points and 5 rebounds for Dominican Republic. Nocioni put up 14 points and 12 rebounds as Argentina survived a 91-86 battle against Puerto Rico. The winners were led by former All-Euroleague player Luis Scola with 22 points and 14 rebounds, while another current Euroleague champion, Facundo Campazzo, contributed 5 points and 5 assists. In other scores, Venezuela topped Cuba 52-73 and Uruguay downed Brazil 71-57. Monday's games opened the first of a two-round group phase that lasts until the semifinals on September 11, with a champion to be crowned two days later. Both finalists will qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. If Brazil, already qualified as Olympics host, were to reach the finals, then the Americas tournament bronze-medal winner would reach the Olympics.