South Sudan’s 16-year-old Khaman Maluach scored one point and played 16 minutes in his team’s 89-69 victory over China yesterday to become one of the youngest to ever play in the basketball World Cup.
The 7-foot-1 Maluach, who is widely considered a 2025 NBA draft prospect, turns 17 next month. The only players younger than Maluach in World Cup history were Ivory Coast’s Georges Lath (16 years, 3 months in 1986) and China’s Gao Ailun (16 years, 9 months in 2010).
Underdogs like South Sudan and Cape Verde picked up wins yesterday to stay in contention for the second round. New Zealand and Ivory Coast also stayed alive.
Five teams have already advanced to the second round: Latvia, Canada, Germany, Montenegro, and Lithuania. Eleven places are still open while Tokyo Olympic silver medalist France was knocked out on Sunday.
SOUTH SUDAN 89, CHINA 69
At Manila, Chicago Bulls guard Carlik Jones scored 21 points as South Sudan beat China to record its first-ever World Cup victory. Kuany Kuany added 16 points for South Sudan (1-1), which had the edge throughout and shot 15 of 30 from 3-point range.
After a scoreless debut in the first game, Minnesota Timberwolves sixth man Kyle Anderson top-scored with 22 points for China (0-2), which lost its opener to Serbia 105-63.
South Sudan plays Serbia on Wednesday in its final group game and China faces Puerto Rico.
CAPE VERDE 81, VENEZUELA 75
At Okinawa, Betinho Gomes scored 22 and Will Tavares added 20 to lead Cape Verde (1-1) over Venezuela (0-2). Ivan Almeida added 18.
Cape Verde is the lowest ranked team in the tournament according to FIBA rankings, but they don’t look like it.
Venezuela led at the half 46-33, but was held to only 29 points in the last two quarters. David Cubillan led Venezuela with 15 and Jhornan Zamora added 14.
Cape Verde faces Slovenia on Wednesday and Georgia plays Venezuela.
NEW ZEALAND 95, JORDAN 87 OT
At Manila, Izayah Le’afa scored 23 points and Shea Ili added 15 as New Zealand (1-1) kept alive its hopes of reaching the second round. Jordan (0-2) faces a game Wednesday against the United States.
Rondae Hollis Jefferson hit a 3-pointer with 10 seconds to go, and then made his free throw after being fouled to send the game into overtime at 85-85. Jordan was out-scored 10-2 in overtime.
Former NBA player Hollis Jefferson led Jordan with 39 points and had nine rebounds. Freddy Ibrahim added 22.
New Zealand plays Greece on Wednesday for a place in the final 16
IVORY COAST 71, IRAN 69
In Jakarta, Solo Diabate made three late free throws as Ivory Coast edged Iran. With Iran leading 69-68, Diabate drove to the lane and drew a foul with six seconds left. He had an additional free throw after Iran coach Hakan Demir received a technical foul.
Nisre Zouzoua scored 17 points for Ivory Coast (1-1), who lost playmaker Bazoumana Kone to an ankle injury early in the third quarter.
Behnam Yakhchali led Iran (0-2) with 19 points but missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer. Former NBA center Hamed Haddadi had 9 points and 8 rebounds before fouling out late.
Ivory Coast plays Brazil on Wednesday in its final group game and Iran meets Spain. MDT/AP