Spain, France off to strong start in Fiba World Cup qualifying
Boris Diaw and the France squad score a big win at the startg of Group E play. Jerome Ascano  

FRAN Vazquez, a former lottery pick of the Orlando Magic, scored 15 points to lead Spain to a 79-66 victory over Montenegro in its opening game of qualifying for the 2019 Basketball World Cup.

Qualifying began on Friday in the Europe and African regions and continued in Asia and the Americas, where opening-round play started Thursday.

Spain, the 2016 bronze medalist after winning silver in 2008 and 2016, is in Europe's Group A.

Also in Group A, EuroBasket champion Slovenia beat Belarus 87-74.

Boris Diaw, who won an NBA title with the San Antonio Spurs, had six points in France's 70-59 victory over Belgium in Group E, where Bosnia and Herzegovina surprised Russia 81-76 in the other game.

— Elsewhere in Europe:

Group B: Turkey 85, Latvia 73; Ukraine 84, Sweden 76.

Group C: Lithuania 99, Kosovo 61; Poland 70, Hungary 60.

Group D: Italy 75, Romania 70; Netherlands 68, Croatia 61.

Group F: Czech Republic 89, Iceland 69; Finland 82, Bulgaria 80.

Group G: Serbia 85; Austria 64; Germany 79, Georgia 70.

Group H: Greece 95, Britain 92, OT; Israel 88, Estonia 68.

— In Africa:

Group A: Tunisia 96, Guinea 56; Cameroon 65, Chad 60.

Group C: Egypt 65, the Democratic Republic of Congo 61; Angola 62, Morocco 56.

— In Asia:

Group B: Australia 104, Taiwan 66; the Philippines 77, Japan 71.

Group D: Iraq 74, Iran 66; Kazakhstan 82, Qatar 70.

First-round play continues in all regions through the weekend and resumes with the next window of games in February.

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