Serbia Sail Into Semis
Reigning champions Serbia achieved their minimum goal of advancing to the semi-finals of the U20 European Championship Men with a comfortable 94-76 victory over Lithuania.
Vladimir Stimac led the way for Serbia with 19 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks and Milos Teodosic added 10 points and 10 assists. Dragan Labovic scored 18 points and Milenko Tepic made a number of big baskets in collecting 16 points.
Since losing to co-hosts Slovenia in their opening game of the tournament, Serbia have strung together five consecutive wins and are 4-1 in Group E. They will play either Spain or Italy in Saturday's semi-finals in Gorizia.
Lithuania, who dropped to 0-5 in the group, were led by 20 points from Remigijus Trakimas and 14 from Povilas Butkevicius.
But the Lithuanians were dominated in the paint as Serbia out-rebounded them 41-26 for the game.
Serbia stapled their authority on the game right off from the start, gradually building their lead to 10 points after the first quarter, 25-15. Milenko Tepic's lay-up made it 14 points at 33-19.
But the Lithuanians used a 15-4 run to pull within 37-34 before watching the Serbs again pull away, leading 51-42 at half-time.
Vlada Vukoicic's team continually pounded the ball inside to Stimac in the third period as the big man scored 10 points in helping the champs increase their lead to 20 points at 70-50.
Lithuania trailed 74-55 going into the fourth quarter.
Linas Salkus's team reeled off an 11-0 run to start the fourth, trimming the deficit to 74-66 with 7:22 remaining.
But Tepic answered with three-pointers in back-to-back possessions to re-establish a 14-point advantage.
And Lithuania would not get closer than 10 points the rest of the way.