Brazil tops Latvia 94-69, claims spot in Paris Olympics basketball field

The Olympic rings are seen on the Eiffel Tower from the Beach Volleyball court at the Eiffel Tower stadium, Tuesday, June 25, 2024 in Paris. (AP Photo/Thomas Padilla)

By TIM REYNOLDS AP Basketball Writer

Brazil is going to the Paris Olympics, after a 19-0 run over the final 3:21 of the first quarter set the tone in what became a surprisingly easy 94-69 victory over Latvia in the first of four men’s basketball qualifying tournament finals being played Sunday.

Bruno Caboclo led Brazil with 21 points and Leo Meindl added 20. Caboclo made a 65-foot 3-pointer to end the first quarter — one in which Brazil was 8 for 8 from beyond the arc to take a 34-11 lead and stun the home crowd in Riga, Latvia.

“My dad was a basketball player and his dream was to play in the Olympic Games,” Meindl said. “I’m making this for me, for him and for my family. I’m feeling on the clouds.”

FILE – The Olympic rings are set up at Trocadero plaza that overlooks the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Sept. 14, 2017. Russia says that 10 of its wrestlers who were offered spots at the Paris Olympics as neutrals will refuse to compete. The Russian wrestling federation says that its officials, coaches and athletes held a meeting and “came to an unanimous decision — to refuse to participate in the Olympic Games.” (AP Photo/Michel Euler, File)

Rihards Lomazs scored 15 for Latvia, which got 14 points apiece from Rolands Smits and Arturs Zagars.

“It just seemed like it was going their way from the first quarter,” Zagars said.

Brazil will be placed in Group B for the Olympics, with games against France (July 27), Germany (July 30) and Japan (Aug. 2) in the opening stage. The last three spots in the 12-team Olympic field will be decided later Sunday: Croatia visits Greece, Bahamas visits Spain and Lithuania visits Puerto Rico, with the winners of those contests headed to Paris as well.

Already having qualified for the Paris field: the four-time defending gold medalist U.S., France, Germany, Japan, Serbia, South Sudan, Canada and Australia. France qualified as the host nation; the other seven teams on that list qualified based on their finishes at the World Cup last summer.

Following the World Cup, 24 teams were left to compete for the final four slots. They were decided in these winner-take-all qualifiers that started last week.