TSX DAILY: U.S. qualifies for Tokyo, advances to FIBA World Cup quarters; Americans trail Europe in “The Match”; world record for “The Flying Moustache”

Jaylen Brown of the U.S. driving against Brazil (Photo: FIBA)

≡ TSX DAILY ~ 10 September 2019 ≡

| 1. |  LEADING OFF: U.S. beats Brazil in FIBA World Cup, headed to quarterfinals vs. France

There were some nightmare scenarios that could even have eliminated the U.S. from the championship quarterfinals at the FIBA men’s World Cup, but none of them happened as the U.S. defeated Brazil, 89-73, in Shenzhen, China to remain unbeaten.

The win sends the U.S. to the quarters to play France, which lost a tense game to Australia, 100-98, to end up second in Group L. The schedule:

● 10 September: Argentina vs. Serbia in Dongguan
● 11 September: United States vs. France in Dongguan (ESPNNews at 7 a.m. Eastern)

● 10 September: Spain vs. Poland in Shanghai
● 11 September: Australia vs. Czech Republic in Shanghai

Monday’s final group games did not produce a shocker like Spain’s win over Serbia on Sunday, but there was still plenty of interesting action.

The U.S. slowly strangled Brazil with defense, rebounding and some improved shooting. After leading by just 43-39 at half, the American squad had a 67-56 lead after three quarters and extended that to as much as 19 in the fourth. Kemba Walker and Myles Turner each had 16 points for the U.S. and Jaylen Brown (pictured above) had 11. Defense was again crucial, as Brazil was held to just 43.1% shooting from the floor.

As the U.S. and Argentina were the only two teams from the Americas to make it to the quarters, they are now qualified for the Olympic tournament in 2020, regardless of what else happens in the World Cup. That was the primary mission – above all others – for this team, but there is more to do, as the Americans have a 24-game World Cup winning streak still alive, as well as a 58-game streak in international tournament with NBA players.

The other game in the U.S.’s group was a showdown between the Czech Republic and Greece for the right to advance to the quarters. Coming in, it was well known that Greece had to not only win the game, but win by more than 12 points to win the tiebreaker.

Nicholas Catathes scored 27 for the Greeks and Giannis Antetokounmpo added 12 and nine rebounds, but the Czechs hung tough and lost by only 84-77 and will play on, although as a heavy underdog to Australia.

The game of the day was the tug-of-war between undefeateds France and Australia. The game was tied at the half, France had a four-point lead going into the fourth quarter, but a 14-5 run to start the fourth gave Oz an 85-80 lead. The French responded with a 9-2 of their own and had an 89-87 lead with 3:11 to play.

The game was tied at 98 with 16 seconds to play, then Matthew Dellevedova’s free throw gave Australia a one-point lead. France inbounded, but Australia’s star guard Patty Mills stole the ball with four seconds remaining. The French had to foul and Mitch Creek made one of three foul shots for the 100-98 final. Not too much defense in this game: the Aussies shot 57.2% from the field, just better than the 56.9% by France. Mills led Australia with 30 points and Evan Fournier had 31 for France. More here.

| 2. | ATHLETICS: World leader in the high jump for Nedasekau in The Match: U.S. v. Europe

The international dual match concept, almost dead, showed some life on Monday as a mid-level United States team faced off against a European squad at Dinamo Stadium in Minsk (BLR) in “The Match.”

For the most part, the marks weren’t spectacular, but the event was great fun to watch. The U.S. won 12 of the 18 events on Monday, but trailed in the team scoring (9-7-6-5-4-3-2-1) by 328-312 as the Europeans were stronger in the field events. Key moments:

● Belarus’s Maksim Nedasekau scored a lifetime best – and became the world leader in the men’s high jump – at 2.35 m (7-8 1/2), displacing Russia’s Ilya Ivanyuk, who hugged him nonetheless for winning the event!

● American Darrell Hill claimed a season best in the shot put, reaching 22.35 m (73-4), and moved to no. 4 on the world list for 2019. Jot him down as a medal contender for the World Championships in Doha now.

● The women’s 400 m was won by NCAA champ Wadeline Jonathas in 51.01, with a season’s best by Allyson Felix in second (51.36), who charged down the straight after being way behind at the 300 m mark. It’s progress of a sort for Felix, who will run on the relays in Doha.

Oh yes, the athletes aren’t competing for country alone. There is prize money of €7,000-5,000-4,000-3,000-2,000-1,000-500-500 for the individual events and €6,000-4,000-2,000 for the relays.

More here. The meet concludes on Tuesday and will be shown on NBCSN beginning at noon Eastern time.

Athletes are encouraged to be expressive, right? But U.S. 4×100 m anchor Christopher Belcher – (pictured) second in the 100 m to teammate Mike Rodgers – went a little crazy, spreading his arms wide and celebrating the last 15 m as he finished the race in 38.26.

Maybe a little too much fun? Belcher tweeted later, “Just wanna take the time to apologize to @usatf, the coaching staff, and my USA teammates for showboating tonight. That’s not my style of running and i understand i ruined a chance for us to have a top time in the world for the 4×100. I am truly sorry and will never do it again.”

Most of the replies were encouraging; Belcher will be under a lot more pressure in Doha than he was in Minsk.

The Athletics Integrity Unit announced a provisional suspension for doping for Pan American Games discus silver medalist Andressa de Morais of Brazil. Also the Brazilian national champion for 2019, he threw a lifetime best of 65.98 m at the Pan Ams (216-6), standing no. 16 on the world list for 2019.

| 3. | CYCLING: Roglic extends lead in brutal Stage 16 of La Vuelta

Monday was one of the most difficult stages of the 2019 Vuelta a Espana, with two huge climbs in the middle of the 144.4 km route and then an uphill climb over the last 34 km to the Alto de la Cubilla.

A 21-rider breakaway early in the stage narrowed to six men with 9 km remaining on the final climb. That narrowed to just two men with 6 km remaining, Denmark’s Jakob Fuglsang and Italian Gianluca Brambila. Fuglsang shook him off with 4 km left and continued to the finish with a 22-second win over Tao Geoghegan Hart of Great Britain as Brambila faded to fifth.

Behind the two of them was a strong effort from race leader Primoz Roglic (SLO), who finished with two other contenders almost six minutes behind Fuglsang. But Roglic was able to put another 23 seconds on second-place Alejandro Valverde of Spain and now leads the race – with five stages left – by 2:48. Third-place Tadej Pogacar (SLO) is 3:42 back.

There is a rest day on Tuesday and then the longest stage of 2019, a hilly 219.6 km ride from Aranda de Duero to Guadalajara.

The Pan American Track Cycling Championships took place in the thin air of Cochabamba, Bolivia, some 2,558 m (8,392 ft.) above sea level. That’s good for fast times and six world records (in three events) were set over the five days of competition:

● Men/Sprint: 9.249 by Jair Tjon En Fa (SUR), then 9.100 by Nicholas Paul (TTO).

● Men/4,000 m Pursuit: 4:06.407 and 4:05.423 by Ashton Lambie (pictured/USA)

● Women/Sprint: 10.360, Martha Bayona (COL), then 10.154 by Kelsey Mitchell (CAN)

Lambie – “the Flying Moustache” – broke his own world mark from 2018 and won the Pursuit, plus a silver medal in the Team Pursuit. The big winner was American Jennifer Valente, who continued to dominate this event, winning the Points Race, Scratch Race and Omnium for the third year in a row. She added a fourth in 2018 in the Team Pursuit and this year teamed with Kendall Ryan to win the Madison. That’s 11 gold medals for Valente in three years! more here.

| 4. | SCOREBOARD: Verniaiev stars in World Challenge Cup; U.S. dominates Pan Am Table Tennis champs

Lots and lots of action over the weekend, with some complete results finally posted on Monday:

● In the FIG Artistic World Challenge Cup in Szombathely (HUN), Ukraine’s Oleg Verniaiev – the 2016 Olympic All-Around silver medalist and Parallel Bars winner – claimed three medals and finished in the top five in all six apparatus finals. He won the Parallel Bars, of course and was runner-up on Floor and Pommel Horse. More here.

● The U.S. had never had much success at the ITTF Pan American Championships … until this year. Playing in Asuncion (PAR), the American women scored wins in Singles (Lily Zhang), Doubles (Zhang and Yue Wu), plus the team title, and the Mixed Doubles, with Zhang and Kai Zhang. The U.S. men also won two bronze medals for an overall total of six. More here.

| 5. | FLASHBACK: Remembering the day the Olympic Games almost ended

The 47th anniversary of the grimmest day in the history of the Olympic Movement came last Thursday. The murder of 11 Israeli athletes and officials by Palestinian terrorists during the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich (FRG)  put the entire Olympic Movement at risk and changed the way the Games – and all other major events – are staged.

A memorial service was held on 6 September 1972 in Munich’s Olympiastadion, where IOC President Avery Brundage (pictured) declared:

“The Games must go on and we must continue our efforts to keep them clear, pure and honest and try to extend sportsmanship of the athletic field to other areas.

“We declare today a day of mourning and will continue all the events one day later than scheduled.” A report from the memorial service is here.