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Shaky starts for Greece, Russia in World Cup qualifying

143   //    25 Nov 2017, 08:57 IST

Ioannis Bourousis.

There were some big upsets in Europe as qualifiers for the FIBA World Cup continued on Friday, with Russia and Croatia suffering shock defeats.

The European qualifiers were greatly affected by the unavailability of players from the NBA and Euroleague, with depleted Greek and Finnish teams also struggling in their qualifying openers.

Although he shot 33.3 per cent, teenage starlet Dzanan Musa top-scored with 18 points and added seven rebounds in Bosnia and Herzegovina's 81-76 victory over Russia in Sarajevo.

Meanwhile, without the likes of Dario Saric, Ante Tomic and Bojan Bogdanovic, Croatia connected at an abysmal 31.7 per cent from the floor in their 68-61 loss to Netherlands in Rotterdam.

As expected, Ioannis Bourousis carried Greece with 27 points and eight rebounds in Leicester, but Thanasis Skourtopoulos' side needed overtime and a late triple from Giannis Athinaiou to defeat Great Britain 95-92.

G-I-A-N-N-I-S A-T-H-I-N-A-I-O-U wins it for @hellenicbf #FIBAWC #ThisIsMyHouse
— FIBA World Cup (@FIBAWC) November 24, 2017

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Also, without Lauri Markkanen and Petteri Koponen, Finland saw a 14-point lead whittle away to a single bucket in their 82-80 win over lowly Bulgaria.

There were no such struggles for Serbia, Spain, France, Lithuania and 2017 Eurobasket champions Slovenia without their stars, however, all winning by double digits.

Slovenia start their campaign with a comfy 87-74 win over Belarus in Ljubljana! #FIBAWC #ThisIsMyHouse
— FIBA World Cup (@FIBAWC) November 24, 2017

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Having won the 2017 Asia Cup with an NBL-based team, Australia started off with a comfortable 104-66 victory over Chinese Taipei.

The Boomers got any look they wanted, with only one shot in the midrange and connecting at 57.5 per cent from the floor over the course of the match.

Other Asian results on Friday saw the Philippines defeat Japan 77-71 as Kazakhstan accounted for Qatar 82-70. In Hamed Haddadi's absence, though, Asia Cup finalists Iran lost 74-66 to Iraq in Amman.

There were no shocks in Africa with Angola, Cameroon, Egypt and Tunisia all claiming wins.

In the Americas, Anderson Varejao led the way as Brazil defeated Chile 86-73. Canada got off to a positive start with 93-69 win over the Bahamas, while Venezuela and the Dominican Republic also claimed victories.

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