Serbia & Montenegro Win U20 Title


Serbia & Montenegro captured their first U20 European Championships title since 1998 as it beat tournament hosts Turkey 64-58.

Tadija Dragicevic made a free throw with 15 seconds left to give Serbia & Montenegro a four-point lead, and Nikola Pekovic dunked just before the final buzzer for the final score-line.

The Serbs took bronze in 2005 in Brno, Czech Republic - the country's first U20 medal since the 1998 gold as Yugoslavia in Trapani, Italy. But Dragicevic and company did the job on Sunday in Izmir.

Nikola Pekovic (Serbia & Montenegro)
Nikola Pekovic
Dragicevic and Pekovic each had 18 points to lead the Balkan powers while Milenko Tepic added 13 points.

Boris Bakic scored just six points in 34 minutes, but he had seven rebounds and seven assists.

Ersan Ilyasova led all scorers with 21 while adding six rebounds and two blocked shots. But the budding NBA star also committed six turnovers.

Cenk Akyol added 13 points while center Ogus Savas had a nightmare performance of just five points on a 2-13 shooting night. Savas did grab a game-high 13 rebounds.

One of Turkey's biggest problems came at the free throw line, where they hit just 9 of 20 shots.

Serbia & Montenegro began pulling away in the first quarter, opening a seven-point lead before the period ended with Miroslav Nikolic's team ahead 20-16.

Midway through the second quarter, Ivan Maras hit a three-pointer to open an 11-point bulge - 31-20. The Turks closed the deficit to 33-28 at halftime.

With the Serbs leading 38-30 early in the second half, Akyol and Ilyasova took over the game, combining for all 15 points in a 15-4 run to open a 45-42 lead. The teams entered the final 10 minutes even at 45-45.

Ilyasova's basket midway through the fourth made it 55-53 for Serbia & Montenegro. But Tepic scored three straight baskets to off-set all five of Savas' points as the Serbs led 61-58 with 46 seconds remaining.

Dragicevic stepped up to the line and made one of two free throws with 15 seconds left to make it a two-possession game. And after Ilyasova missed a three-pointer with 5 seconds left, Pekovic dunked home the final basket of the championships.

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