Serbia Withstand Amazing Spain Fightback

29.07.2008

Filip Sepa led four players in double figures as Serbia withstood an amazing comeback from Spain in a thrilling 93-87 victory at the U18 European Championship Men.

Serbia took the first quarter by 23 points only to see Spain fight their way back into the game and needed to decide the game in the final minute.

Sepa scored 19 of his 23 points in the first period while Bojan Subotic had 16 points, Andreja Milutinovic hit for all 14 of his points in the third quarter and Uros Petrovic added 13 points. Miroslav Nikolic's Serbs improved to 2-1 in the Qualifying Round Group E.

Alejandro Hernandez paced the Spaniards with 18 points. Ignacio Llovet collected 14 points and 11 rebounds, Jorge Santana had 14 points and Alberto Jodar and Toni Vicens each chipped in 10 points.

Spain dropped to 1-2 in the group.

Serbia scored the first six points en route to a 10-1 early lead. Daniel Perez's foul shots trimmed the deficit to 13-8 before Sepa took over the game, scoring 11 of his 19 first quarter points in a 25-8 run for a 38-16 advantage. Subotic's three-pointer just before the buzzer made it 42-19.

Just as nearly perfect as the Serbs were in the first 10 minutes, the second quarter was an entirely different story. Spain hit for the first six points of the second and after a Bogdan Riznic basket, Hernandez scored six points in an 11-0 run to make it 48-36.

A Riznic foul shot was followed by another nine straight points by Spain, including Hernandez hitting a long jumper just before the shot clock buzzer. Serbia led 52-45 at the break.

Alejandro Martinez's men continued their intensity in the second half with three straight break-away lay-ups to make it 52-51. And Vicens's basket knotted the game at 53-53. Milutinovic, however, came off the bench for a spark with a three-pointer and Aleksandar Vlahovic's trey made it 61-55.

Milutinovic knocked down two more long balls in the quarter for a 76-65 Serbia lead going into the fourth. Dejan Musli's three-point play made it 81-67 but the feisty Spanish defense caused three straight turnovers and Jodar's foul shot made it 81-76.

The lead went back to six before Perez's lay-up made it 86-83. But Subotic converted a three-point play with 1:42 remaining and Petrovic put back an offensive rebound with 38 seconds left for a 91-83 lead to decide the game.


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