RIGA (2011 FIBA U19 World Championship) - Serbia have shown an ability to remain calm under pressure, seeing off Argentina by five points in a nail-biting second Semi Final to set up a date with Lithuania in Sunday's gold medal match.
The last time that Serbia and Argentina met in a match prior to the FIBA U19 World Championship it took a double overtime to find the winner and early indications suggested that a similar scenario was about to unfold on Saturday night with eight lead changes and tied scores on seven occasions in the first half.
Early in the second quarter Serbia looked like building the first substantial lead of the game, forcing Argentinean Coach Enrique Elias Tolcachier to switch to zone defense. The move would prove effective as Argentina - led by the ever-improving Patricio Garino - went on a 10 point scoring run to be leading by four at halftime.
Due to the nature of the game, it came of little surprise to see the lead once again evaporate with Serbia claiming it back less than four minutes into the second half. Their lead would not go beyond four however with Argentine point guard Juan Giaveno coming up with three big plays to tie the game back up at 52 with a minute and a half left in the third quarter. First he stole the ball then proceeded to go to the basket, picking a foul up in the process. Converting the free throw, he would then follow it up by drawing out fouls on the next two Argentinean ball possessions, claiming a further four from five from the charity stripe.
Petar Lambic however would assure his side a three point lead going into the final ten minutes, stealing on an Argentinean inbound to make an easy layup with the buzzer about to sound.
Lambic followed up at the start of the final quarter with another layup to have the lead back to five points, but with Serbia continuing to foul Argentina on their way to the hoop, the lead would be short-lived.
When their fourth team came up with six minutes still to play, Serbian coach Dejan Mijatovic was forced to call a timeout. It would work in his favor with his team returning to the court more settled, scoring the next eight of the next ten points to go back up by four. It was a lead that they would surrender for the remainder of the game.
The Argentineans were clearly becoming frustrated and it was Garino who cracked first, giving up his fifth foul to rule out any further involvement he would have in the game.
Despite his loss, Argentina would only be trailing by two points going into the final minute. But it was not the first time that Serbia have been in this situation in Latvia, remaining calm under pressure and ultimately converting from the free throw line as the match turned into a free throw shooting exhibition with Argentina opting to foul - albeit too late - in desperation.
|P||BOGDANOVIC 25||DELIA 19|
|RB||BOGDANOVIC 8||DELIA 10|
|A||VUJOSEVIC 6||GIAVENO 3|
|S||LAMBIC 2||MASSARELLI 2|
|B||BOGDANOVIC 3||DELIA 2|
|7||N. KRSTIC||Did not play|
|14||L. IGRUTINOVIC||Did not play|
|15||N. DANGUBIC||Did not play|
|13||L. DIAZ||Did not play|
|14||F. PODESTA||Did not play|
|Min||Minutes played||Tot||Total rebounds||BS||Block Shots|
|%||Shooting percentage||PF||Personal fouls||*||Starters|
(W/L: 5-2 )
|Points for (avg)||79.3|
|Points against (avg)||72.3|
|2 Points FG||49.1%|
|3 Points FG||37.1%|
(W/L: 5-2 )
|Points for (avg)||70.6|
|Points against (avg)||70.3|
|2 Points FG||43.4%|
|3 Points FG||30.2%|