International Hoops: Spain takes care of Japan 88-77

Ricky Rubio and Marc Gasol power Spain in dominating display

By Johnny Askounis/

Spain cruised to the 88-77 victory over Japan at Saitama Super Arena on Monday.

Ricky Rubio paired his game-high 20 points with nine assists. The Minnesota Timberwolves point guard neared the double-double mark in 22 minutes. Victor Claver registered 13 points and nine rebounds.

Sergio Scariolo’s team led from start to finish peaking at a 24-point advantage. A late run cut the deficit for Japan but not to the point of threatening the European side in the Olympic Games preliminary round fixture.

Marc Gasol logged 12 points. His brother Pau Gasol started his fifth Olympic Games participation with 4/5 shots for nine points and four rebounds.

Rui Hachimura went for 20 points but failed to keep things interesting. His NBA sidekick Yuta Watanabe had 19 points, eight rebounds, and five steals.

After Slovenia, La Roja also jumped to 1-0 in Group C. The team led by Julio Lamas went 0-1, tied with Argentina.

Group C resumes on Thursday. Spain faces Argentina and the tournament hosts square off with Slovenia. The top two teams after the three-game round-robin schedule advance to the quarterfinals, while the two best-ranked third-placed sides of the three groups will also progress.


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