Defending champs Russia enjoy perfect Day 1 at FIBA 3x3 U23 World Cup

2 Oct 2019

LANZHOU (China) - Defending men's champions Russia had the perfect Day 1 of the FIBA 3x3 U23 World Cup with easy victories over Slovenia and Argentina on October 2, 2019.

The No.1 seeds started with a 21-9 thrashing of Slovenia with reigning MVP Alexander Zuev dominating from deep with a trio of twos en route to a game-high 8 points.

The sharpshooter might well be on his way to back-to-back MVP performance after he continued his hot start with 10 points to lead Russia to a comfortable 21-14 victory over Argentina. The #43 player in the world led all scorers in the men's category.

New Zealand were the surprise packets of Pool A after defeating Slovenia and Turkey. The No.17 seeds had a thrilling 21-19 victory over Slovenia and were led by Taane Samuel, who scored 8 points and was unstoppable when driving to the basket.

He scored the last two points of the game to deliver a memorable victory for New Zealand who then comfortably accounted for Turkey 21-12.

Ukraine starred in Pool C after easily defeating Kyrgyzstan 21-9 and then overcoming No.3 seeds Qatar in a 15-13 thriller. Anton Musiienko dominated with 8 points and delivered an XXL poster to inspire the No.6 seeds to an unbeaten record.

And yet it probably wasn't the poster dunk of the day, not even the game considering Ivan Tkachenko did that:

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He zipped up the body bag! 😵🔥 #3x3U23 @vanya__tkach

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Pool B, C and D games will be played on Day 2.

The Netherlands stole the show in the women's category after upsetting No.2 seeds and hosts China 19-11. The No.7 seeds had an even spread as the Netherlands silenced the home crowd. Towering star Wenxi Ha played a lone hand for China but lacked support. Dutch sharpshooter Kiki Fleuren topped all scorers on Day 1 with 16 points. Japan rising star Mia Yamamoto had 12 but in just one game. Ten minutes were enough for last year's team of the tournament member to bring the highlights.

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@mai.y_23 says sayonara👋 #3x3U23

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To the relief of the home fans, China bounced back win a big 21-12 victory over Switzerland to finish Day 1 on a high note.

Hungary joined the Netherlands as unbeaten in Pool B with victories over Switzerland (21-14) and Sri Lanka (20-6).

Pool D's big game was between No.4 seed Ukraine and No.5 France who had earlier easily beaten Turkmenistan. Les Bleues started fast but Ukraine finished stronger with a 9-1 run fueling them to a 16-13 victory.

There will be Pool A, C and D action on Day 2.