Serbia Take Last Available Spot

11 September 2012

Milenko Tepic (Serbia)
Guard Milenko Tepic produced a solid performance and led all Serbia scorers with 16 points

Serbia beat Israel on Tuesday night to clinch a spot in next year's EuroBasket, but the margin of the triumph wasn't enough to leapfrog Arik Shivek's side into second place in Group A.

Dusan Ivkovic's team prevailed 83-67 to leave both sides, and Estonia, with 6-4 records behind group winners Montenegro (10-0).

Serbia came up just shy of the 19-point triumph they needed to finish second.

Instead, they ended up third behind Israel and ahead of fourth-place Estonia with a goal differential tie-breaker used to determine the order of finish.

The Estonians, despite winning at Israel in their second game, beating Serbia over the weekend in Tallinn and also winning on Tuesday against Iceland, missed out on a spot in the Final Round.

Serbia's main aim was to win against Israel to seal a spot at next summer's EuroBasket

They met that objective, advancing as one of the four best third-place teams in the six Qualification Round groups.

The hosts went in front by 26 midway through the third quarter but instead of pressing home the advantage, the Blues allowed Israel to battle back and get as close as 73-62 with 2:30 to play.

Serbia didn't give up on trying to achieve the 19-point win, though.

When Milos Teodosic hit a jumper with six seconds to play, Serbia led 83-65.

Serbia put Israel's Guy Pnini on the line with four seconds to go and he sank a pair of free-throws to cut the deficit to 16.

That left Serbia needing a three-ball to reach the 19-point advantage.

Serbia got the ball to Aleksandar Rasic but his attempt from the arc was off target.

For the winners, Milenko Tepic had 16 points, Nenad Krstic 14 and Nemanja Bjelica 12.

Serbia shot 11 of 28 from the arc.

Israel were led by Omri Casspi's 20 points and Pnini weighed in with 13.



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