SHANGHAI, Sept. 10 (Xinhua) -- Poland put on a spirited display against a Spanish side that controlled the game for 40 minutes. With five players scoring double digits, Spain cruised past Poland 90-78 to reach the semifinals of the Basketball World Cup.
Rudy Fernandez shone with his 5-of-5 from deep. It was also his second personal three that helped Spain build its first double-digit advantage, 38-28, with more than five minutes left in the second quarter. Rubio Ricky remained as the core of the whole Spanish team. The 28-year-old finished just shy of posting a double-double with game-high 19 points and 9 assists.
Spain also restricted the best Polish player Mateusz Ponitka to 9 points after 3-of-9 shooting from outside the three-point line. Poland got 19 from A.J Slaughter, but the day still belonged to Spain
The first quarter saw slow ball movements and patience from both sides. Spain made trouble in the paint as powerful Marc Gasol served both in points and assists. The 2.15-meter tall center delivered quarter-high three assists in the first ten minutes alone, and Spain led 16-9 after Gasol assisted Rudy Fernandez to hit a three with less than five minutes to go in the first.
Struggling to compete with the superior Spanish height advantage, the Polish turned to long-range shots. They stormed a 9-2 run with three consecutive three-pointers, erasing the deficits 18-18 before the last minute in the first. But it was Spain instead that dictated the game from downtown in the second, during which the Spanish made five three-pointers, with Poland only two due to a decrease in goal percentage caused by strengthened defense from Spain.
The Polish managed to trim the gap 46-61 into the second half but found themselves trailing by over ten again after a pair of three-pointers from Spain. Poland saw a glimmer of hope when the duel A.J. Slaughter and Michal Sokolowski pulled out a 9-2 run, sending Poland 76-72 in the fourth. But Spain's answered with a 9-0 surge, engined by Ricky's killer three-pointers, which finally took the game away.