World Cup: Second Round Begins for Belinelli, Italy; Metu, Nigeria Start Classification Round

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San Antonio Spurs guard Marco Belinelli and forward Chimezie Metu were back in action at the 2019 FIBA World Cup Friday, as Belinelli and Italy lost their first game of the second round to Spain 67-60, while Metu and Nigeria began their classification round play with an 83-66 win over Cote D’Ivoire.

Metu had the assist of the day against Cote D’Ivoire

Metu saw reduced minutes in a more competitive game Friday, as he finished with 14 minutes, three rebounds, two assists, two turnovers, and two steals. It was Metu’s first scoreless game at the World Cup, where he only got one look at the basket and he didn’t get to the free throw line. Here’s a small quarter-by-quarter log of Metu’s limited play Friday.

Second Quarter – On one possession, Metu tried to put the ball on the floor and drive by his defender. But, when he tried to put the ball behind his back, he lost control and the ball was stolen.

Third Quarter – Metu tried to drive by his defender, but he traveled on a possession. He made the easy pass to a teammate for a made three on another possession. Late in the third, he gambled for a steal and got rewarded. He then almost dunked on his opponent on the other end, but the dunk didn’t go through all the way.

Fourth Quarter – On an early possession in the fourth, Metu’s defender was right up into his jersey. Metu used a swing move to get past his defender and when that happened, he drew in the defense on the drive and fed a cutting teammate with a behind the back pass. You can see the clip below.

Nigeria improves to 2-2 in the classification round with 6 points in the group and a +/- of +41, the largest +/- of anyone in Group M.  Nigeria’s final game at the World Cup will take place Sunday against China.

Belinelli, Italy out from advancing after loss to Spain

Belinelli had a tough game against Spain Friday, finishing with seven points (3/16 shooting), four rebounds, four assists, and two turnovers in 32 minutes of play. After the loss Belinelli said he took responsibility for the loss. He had been Italy’s second leading scorer at the World Cup before the game against Spain.

Italy’s final game will take place Sunday against Puerto Rico. Even though Serbia and Spain will face each other Sunday, Italy still won’t be able to push ahead of either team even if Italy defeats Puerto Rico because both Spain and Serbia have perfect record’s entering Sunday’s game.

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