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Group:  F | 12.08.2009, 18:00h
Group:  F | 12.08.2009, 18:00h
66-75
18 - 2120 - 1919 - 159 - 20
18 - 2120 - 1919 - 159 - 20
Venue: Kaunas (LTU) |
Spectators: 100 |

GAME REPORT


Serbia Book Spot In Quarter-Finals

Serbia is still in the race for the medals after a 75-66 victory over Croatia on the last day of the Qualifying Round in Group F of the Omnitel U16 European Championship Men.

Entering the game Croatia already knew their spot in the Quarter-Finals was safe, but still fought with every drop of energy to win the game.

Serbia knew in case of a loss they'll head to the 9-12 classification games, and carried to the court every weapon they had.

Serbia saw big man Nemanja Bezbradica hit 19 points with ten rebounds while Nikola Pavlovic had six boards. Nenad Miljenovic had 15 points, eight rebounds and three assists and Aleksandar Cvetkovic added 11.

Dario Saric led Croatia with 18 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, Matej Buovac scored 15 and Marko Ramljak had 13 points.

"Two days ago we were almost dead in this competition, and now we're in the quarter-finals so of course I'm very happy," said Nenad Trunic of the Serbian bench.

"Coming here our goal was to make it to the World Championship next year, and we're still in the race.

"It won't be easy against Russia - probably the best team in the tournament - but we'll do our best."

In yesterday's game Serbia got a big day from the bigs, so today the system wasn't much different.

Serbia kept pushing the ball inside time after time and took only three attempts from distance in the first half.

Bezbradica scored in the inside as Serbia took an 11-4 lead.

Buovac showed what he can do best - scoring three pointers, to lead a 7-0 Croatian run, but the big Serbian gave his team a 21-18 lead after one quarter.

Saric and Ramljak were active, but the Serbian defense gave the first a hard time, and used his missed shots, to take a 31-24 lead.

Ramljak with six points didn't allow Serbia too much space and when Miljenovic was called for his third personal foul right before the break, Serbia had some reason to worry coming the half, despite a 40-38 lead.

The teams went neck-to-neck the entire second half, until Serbia found the way to take off.

After hitting only twice from distance the entire game, this was the winning card of Serbia tonight.

Cvetkovic connected five points to make it a 67-61 Serbian lead with five minutes on the clock, and Pavlovic hit another from distance to push the gap to nine, but Saric was not done yet.

Miljenovic and the Croatian talent took the game on their shoulders in the last minutes, but an offensive foul called on Saric followed by a block of Bezbradica on him helped the Serb to secure the win.

"We didn't win a game against a big time so far in this championship, so it was very important for us to beat Serbia despite it made no difference on our ranking," said Croatian head coach Damir Rajkovic.

"I'm a little disappointed, but now we need to look forward and be prepared for the next game against Poland.

"If I had to choose with team of the four I have to meet before the semi's I would say Poland, so I hope it'll work well for us."

Top performers

Accumulated statistics

38.7%

24/62
FG
M/A

42.4%

28/66

45.2%

19/42
FG2P
M/A

45.3%

24/53

25.0%

5/20
FG3P
M/A

30.8%

4/13

65.0%

13/20
FT
M/A

60.0%

15/25

35

9/26
RT
RO/RD

46

15/31

13

AS

8

13

TO

11

5

ST

8

2

BS

3

24

PF

22

66

Pts

75

Next Games

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