By Simon Wilkinson
Turning point: Pau Gasol scored the game's first seven points and Spain had their first double-digit lead, 19-9, courtesy of Navarro's three-pointer with just over two minutes to go in the first quarter. The world champions were in complete control all game.
Hero: Pau Gasol and Navarro. They combined for 19 of Spain's 23 first quarter points.
Stats: Navarro was on fire, connecting on seven of nine three-point attempts, several of them contested. He had 23 points on eight of 11 from the field in just 22 minutes of play.
Spain crushed hosts Poland 90-68 to book their place in the last eight of EuroBasket 2009.
The win saw Sergio Scariolo's side improve to 3-2 to finish fourth in Group F of the Qualifying Round. Up next for them is a clash with unbeaten France (5-0) in the quarter-finals on Thursday.
Juan Carlos Navarro had a game-high 23 points, hitting on eight of 11 field goal attempts - including seven of nine from three-point range - while Pau Gasol added 20 to go along with five rebounds, three assists and three blocks.
|Marcin Gortat and Poland will not be making the trip to Katowice.|
"We had a good performance today," Gasol said afterwards. "We are growing as a team and we are very much alive in the tournament."
"It will be a tough game against France but we have to go through them to get anything done here. We very much look forward to it."
Navarro was pleased to find his way out of a recent shooting slump.
"I struggled shooting from long range in previous games, but today the shots seemed to go in and my team-mates have given me a lot of confidence," he said.
With the older of the two Gasol brothers and Navarro leading the way, the world champions jumped out to a 23-14 lead by the end of the first quarter and never looked back.
The center scored the game's first seven points and had 11 by the end of the period while the guard had eight to go along with three assists.
Navarro buried a step back three-pointer for the first double-digit lead, 19-9, with just over two minutes to go in the quarter.
Lukasz Koszarek got Poland within 27-18 on a lay-up early in the second quarter but Spain quickly reasserted their dominance and had a 42-26 cushion at the break.
The Spaniards were red hot from three-point range, connecting on seven of 14 attempts over the first two quarters. Alex Mumbru hitting two from the top of the key minutes apart before Navarro buried consecutive ones for a 38-22 advantage.
Meanwhile, Poland struggled mightily in the first half, hitting just 12 of 35 field goal attempts, including two of 12 from long range (compared to seven of 14 for Spain).
After the intermission, the Spaniards kept adding to Poland's misery and were up 50-30 when Navarro buried his fifth three-pointer.
He hit his sixth and seventh for a 58-38 score midway through the period and soon after headed to the bench for good.
The Spaniards also gave the fans something of a show as Ricky Rubio drove to the basket and flipped the ball back to Jorge Garbajosa who drained a top of the key three.
Marc Gasol then fed a perfect bounce pass to a cutting Rudy Fernandez who hung in the air for a double-pump lay-up and Sergio Llull had a breakaway dunk for a 66-38 advantage, their biggest lead of the game.
Logan buried a corner three-pointer to cut the deficit to 66-41, but Fernandez answered right back with one of his own. At that point, Spain were 12 of 21 from long distance.
They led 71-46 at the start of the final frame and Poland found some offense late on to outscore them 22-19 over the last 10 minutes for the final scoreline.
Afterwards, Scarialo gave credit to Poland, but admitted that on the day his team were just too good.
"I want to congratulate the Polish team. They improved a lot from their last participation by reaching this round. I think tonight they can't blame themselves," he said.
"My players deserved the win. They did what they had to do to make the opponents look weaker. We played excellent defense, moved the ball well and had good shooting percentages."
Poland head coach Muli Katzurin admitted competing against Spain was always going to be hard.
"It was no competition against Spain. We tried but they were superior in strength and quality. This is a team that is the best in Europe. It was tough to execute a game plan. For us the key was the game against Serbia. We lost it. We lost to a better team. Each game we played was tougher and tougher. I'm sure if we had been in the other group we could have won something more," he said.
Logan broke out of a recent shooting slump to record a team-high 20 points for Poland. Lukasz Koszarek added 17 and Marcin Gortat had 12 to go along with a dozen rebounds.