With a 3-0 record, the Polish national basketball team advanced to the second round of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in China, as they defeated Ivory Coast 80:63 on Wednesday.
Following the victory against Venezuela 80:69 and the dramatic late-drama win against the hosts 79:76, Poland was on the right track to qualify to the next round remaining unbeaten. In the context of fighting for the quarterfinal stage, they had to beat the African team, in theory, the weakest team in the group.
The first quarter of the game saw Poland struggling not only with their opponents, who kept consistently scoring from distance, but also with their own low free throws’ efficiency.
However, the next two quarters brought an improvement in the Polish team’s defence and shot efficiency, as they were leading 55:49 before the final part of the game. Then, Poland quickly built a safe advantage, which allowed the coach Mike Taylor to let some less experienced players onto the floor.
In the end, Poland won 80:63 and will face two higher ranked teams in the next round - Argentina and Russia. The games are scheduled for Friday, September 6, and Sunday, September 8.
Having a perfect score in the first phase of the tournament may be a huge boost regarding the team’s further progress. A potential victory over Russia or Argentina, depending on the result of the match between these two sides, would probably be enough to reach the World Cup quarterfinals, 52 years after Poland’s previous appearance at this tournament.