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Greece, Italy lead early OQT winners

TURIN (AP) – Giannis Antetokounmpo has Greece off and running in the chase for an Olympic basketball berth.

The Milwaukee Bucks star scored 16 points Monday as the Greeks began play in their Olympic Qualifying tournament with a 78-53 victory over Iran.

Antetokounmpo was 7 for 8 from the field in just 19 minutes. The Greeks never trailed, led by as many as 27 points and scored 33 points off 27 Iran turnovers.

Former NBA center Hamed Hadadi finished with 16 points for Iran, which shot 38.5 percent.

Former NBA No. 1 overall pick Andrea Bargnani had 15 points and six rebounds, and the hosts used a huge third quarter to pull away from Tunisia.

Italy broke away from a 32-27 halftime lead by outscoring Tunisia 22-2 in the third quarter. Pietro Aradori added 13 points and Marco Belinelli added 11 for the Italians.

Italy hosts Croatia on Tuesday, while Iran faces Mexico.

Serbia took control late in the first half, then held off Puerto Rico down the stretch to pick up the win. Nemanja Nedovic scored 14 points, while Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets was one of four Serbians with 12 points and added eight rebounds.

The silver medalists in the 2014 Basketball World Cup and favorites to win this group outscored Puerto Rico 20-9 in the second quarter to open a 10-point halftime lead. Serbia shot 50.7 percent from the field.

Dairis Bertans keyed Latvia’s strong start and finished with 20 points in a game that was never close. The Latvians led 26-11 after one quarter and pushed it to 46-23 at halftime.

Janis Blums added 17 points for Latvia, which is playing without New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis, the runner-up for NBA Rookie of the Year.