LONDON – NBA playmaker Manu Ginobili scored 24 points and Argentina bolstered hopes for a medal playoff spot with a 92-69 victory over winless Tunisia on Thursday at the Olympic men’s basketball tournament.
NBA sharpshooter Carlos Delfino added 21 points and NBA big man Luis Scola scored 18 for Argentina, which won Olympic gold in 2004 at Athens and took a bronze medal four years ago in Beijing.
Argentina matched France for second place in Group A at 2-1 but the South Americans lost to France in their Olympic opener. Argentina face Nigeria next and finish group play against the US squad of NBA stars.
Salah Mejri led Tunisia with 19 points while Mourad El Mabrouk added 16 for the reigning African champions, who fell to 0-3 with little hope of reaching next week’s quarter-finals.
Tunisia seized a stunning 28-14 lead after the first quarter, but midnight struck on the fairytale after that, Ginobili sparking Argentina to the first 15 points of the second quarter to restore form.
The South American side shot only 5-for-18 in the first quarter as Tunisia, which hit 4-of-7 3-pointers in the period, impressed early as they had on Tuesday against the US team of NBA stars before being routed.
The game was deadlocked 40-40 at half-time but Argentina scored the first nine points of the second half and outscored the African champions 23-6 over the first six minutes of the third period to seize command for good.