|Nikola Jankovic has been a constant force for Serbia under the basket and his team can look on a tidy 5-0 record since dropping game 1 against Croatia|
by Yarone Arbel
One of the hottest teams in the competition now is Serbia who beat Greece 82-69 in Group E of the U16 European Championship at Osnovna Skola Jugoslavija in Bar, Montenegro on Wednesday afternoon.
This is the fifth win in a row by Serbia after dropping the first game to Croatia, and they took a 4-1 record in their group and now will wait for the result of the game between France and Croatia later on tonight to know their final standings among the top three.
Greece dropped their record to 1-4 and are eliminated from the race to the medals on their way to the 9-12 Classification Round games.
Nikola Jankovic and Stefan Pot led Serbia with 15 points each while Nikola Majic had 11 points and 11 rebounds for the winners. Vasilje Micic added only four points but dished 11 assists from the back court.
Big guy Kyprianos Maragkos topped the scoring sheet of Greece with 26 points and Ioannis Papapetrou added 10 with six rebounds.
Serbia used a fourth quarter run to keep Greece behind after three close quarters, and managed to protect the ball well with only six turnovers the entire game.
The Greeks were the first to have an upper hand with a 7-13 lead and a jumper by Papaptrou maintained it after five minutes of basketball, 13-19.
Pot scored five in a row, but Greece was still in sync and a very offensive first quarter finished with Serbia still behind 27-29.
Defense started to play a role for both teams, but Jankovic stepped up and just before the half time break Majic connected four points in a row, to give his team a 46-44 lead after 20 minutes of basketball.
Pot on one end and Maragkos at the other kept their teams running as Micic started to collect more and more assists, yet the third buzzer still saw Serbia hold just a two points difference, 60-58.
Maragkos added three more points and brought his team just one point behind, 62-61 with 8:45 to play, but then it was time for Serbia to step up.
Micic scored a rare basket, but continued to distribute to his teammates and Pot nailed another three pointer to cap a 13-0 run.
Maragkos added only three more points until the buzzer, and without any support from his gang on the offensive end, Greece didn't have the tools to comeback from the double-digit gap.