Italy Overcome Serbia To Finish Fifth

30 August 2014
12. Lorenzo Bucarelli (Italy)
 Lorenzo Bucarelli finished with 11 assists

Italy held off Serbia to claim fifth place at the U16 European Championship with a 72-66 success in Riga on Saturday.

Turning Point: Despite trailing for long stretches, Serbia's final push appeared to be coming when Matija Radovic dunked to bring them back within four after being well found with a no-look pass from Aleksandar Aranitovic with 1:57 to play. But Italy responded brilliantly as Lorenzo Bucarelli's drive-and-dish allowed Lorenzo Penna to drain a dagger three and take the lead back up to 70-63.

Game Hero: Bucarelli demonstrated his versatile skill-set as he filled the stats sheet with eight points, eight rebounds and 11 assists. He orchestrated the offence well as he performed numerous roles when required throughout the game.

Stats Don't Lie: Italy's 21 assists showed how they did a better job of setting up their plays in the half-court compared to previous games. This allowed them greater control and set up better looks at the basket as they controlled the tempo after taking the lead after half-time.

The Bottom Line: Serbia looked set for a shot at improving on last year's second-place finish at this competition as they coasted through the early rounds before they were halted by Spain in the quarter-finals and didn't look the same after that, despite beating Germany on Friday. Italy improved in their final two games after being knocked out in the last eight by Turkey and looked pleased with their strong finish.


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