U.S. and Lithuania storm into World Cup semi-finals

Tue Sep 9, 2014 6:21pm EDT
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By Tim Hanlon

BARCELONA Spain (Reuters) - Holders the United States ran riot in a 119-76 win over Slovenia while Lithuania beat Turkey 73-61 on Tuesday to set up a mouth-watering basketball World Cup semi-final.

Hosts Spain take on European champions France and Brazil clash with dark horses Serbia in the other two quarter-finals in Madrid on Wednesday.

The Slovenians held their own valiantly in the opening half against the Americans and were only 49-42 down at the interval as forward Domen Lorbek produced a superb performance.

The champions at times looked pedestrian in the first half as their captain James Harden missed his first seven shots, with fellow guard Klay Thompson and athletic center Anthony Davis pulling the strings to keep them in the driving seat.

But the second period produced one-way traffic as the U.S. hit top gear with six players finishing in double scoring digits. Thompson had a game-high 20 points while Harden and Kenneth Faried added 14 each.

Having arrived in Spain with a squad missing top NBA talent who turned down invitations to play, long-serving U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski was pleased with the effort.

“We played hard but we just couldn't finish in the first half and then the floodgates opened after that,” he told a news conference.

“We are beatable there is no doubt about that and that is why I am pleased how we handled it. Normally you get frustrated but we kept our composure and were mature.   Continued...

Kyrie Irving of the U.S. (L) goes up for a basket past Slovenia's Edo Muric during their Basketball World Cup quarter-final game in Barcelona September 9, 2014.       REUTERS/Albert Gea