Serbia & Montenegro Hold On Against France


Serbia & Montenegro turned on the defensive clamps to beat France 60 58 in the quarter-final round and remain undefeated at the Ostchem U 20 European Championships.

Ivan Paunic made just one of two free throws with nine seconds left but France's Benoit Gillet missed a game-winning three-pointer attempt at the buzzer.

Serbia & Montenegro held France to 28.6% shooting and are now 2-0 in Group E and will play Slovenia on Thursday for first place in the standings.

France have played two tough quarter-final games but only have two losses to show as they face Lithuania for third place.

Nikola Pekovic (Serbia & Montenegro)
Nikola Pekovic led Serbia & Montenegro's balanced scoring attack.
Nikola Pekovic led the Serbo-Montenegrins with 12 points, 14 rebounds and three blocked shots. Ivan Maras added 17 points, and Milenko Tepic chipped in 11.

Sourata Cisse led all scorers with 21 points, while Michael Mokongo added 12 points and four assists, and Michel Ipouck contributed eight points and nine rebounds.

Serbia & Montenegro opened a 22-12 lead after one quarter. 

They led 30-19 midway through the second frame. But France went on a 20-0 tear to pull ahead 39-30 in the opening seconds of the second half.

Miroslav Nikolic's team responded with a 16-0 run of their own, taking a 46-39 advantage with four minutes left in the third period, which ended 53-47 for the Balkan side.

Paunic's lay-up gave Serbia & Montenegro a 59-51 lead with 6:17 remaining.

Cisse hit a three-pointer with 4:35 remaining, but neither team could score for the next four minutes.

After Cisse's two free throws with 24 seconds made it 59-56, Thibaut Blanque stole the ball from Branko Jereminov and Cisse made it 59-58 with two free throws with 11 seconds left.

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