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September 10, 2009

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Spain bounces back, Germany stuns Russia

PAU Gasol scored nine of his game-high 27 points in the fourth quarter to carry world champion Spain past Britain 84-76 on day two of the European championship in Poland on Tuesday.

After dropping their tournament opener to Serbia a day earlier, the Spaniards started strong against Britain, jumping to a 12-0 lead behind seven points from Gasol.

But Britain refused to go away, and in the fourth quarter went on a 12-0 run, capped by a Mike Lenzly three from the corner, that gave the British their first lead at 68-66 with 6:32 to play.

Then Gasol took over.

The Los Angeles Lakers center scored on a putback, hit a free-throw and then a three-pointer to pull Spain back in front for good at 74-73, and put the world champion back on track in its quest for a first European title.

"We kept our nerves under control and we also hit some important shots and played some good defense," coach Sergio Scariolo said. "We stay alive and stay in the competition."

Earlier, Germany upset defending champion Russia 76-73 behind 19 points and 11 rebounds from Jan-Hendrik Jagla.

Russia, which only has three players from the team that upset Spain in the 2007 final, fell behind early and trailed by double digits for most of the game, before narrowing the gap to 68-67 with just two minutes to play.

But Heiko Schaffartzik hit a three-pointer for Germany, which held on for its first win in Group B. Germany is without NBA star Dirk Nowitzki.

In Group C, a young Serbia looked nothing like the squad that stunned Spain on Monday, falling to a hot-shooting Slovenia 69-80.

Forward Bostjan Nachbar had 17 points and six rebound as Slovenia improved to 2-0.

In Group D action, traditional power Lithuania continued to struggle, losing to host Poland 75-86.

Turkey also remained undefeated in the group, pounding Bulgaria 94-66.

Also, San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker scored 23 points to lead France past Latvia 60-51 and atop Group B with two wins.

In Group A, Macedonia slipped past Israel 82-79, and Greece improved to 2-0 with a 76-68 win over Croatia.


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