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Bogdanovic, Serbia cruise past Italy to stay perfect
FOSHAN (China) - Serbia extended their winning streak at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 on Wednesday thanks to 92-77 win over Italy in Foshan. It was the third straight win in as many as Group D games for the Aleksandar Djordjevic-coached side.
Bogdan Bogdanovic, who averaged a team-high 20.5 points prior to Wednesday's game, came up with yet another stellar performance, making 18 points from behind the arc to finish with a game-high 31 points. Three other Serbians scored in double figures including Miroslav Raduljica who made all his 12 points from the free-throw line.
And although Danilo Gallinari had a solid performance, finishing with a team-high with 26 points and 8 rebounds, and Marco Belinelli added 15 points, the game belonged to Serbia.
After beating Philippines and Angola by large margins, Serbia have now scored 90+ points in their last three games in this year's FIBA Basketball World Cup.
Turning Point: Italy led by two (10-8) early in the first quarter, but a lay-up from Nikola Milutinov tied the game at 10-all. Bogdan Bogdanovic followed up with his third straight three-pointer, sparking the Serbs offense to a comfortable win.
TCL Player of the Game: Bogdan Bogdanovic has been on fire in Foshan. He showed signs of a performance for the ages early in the game after hitting three straight three-pointers to close the opening quarter with nine points.
In the process, Bogdanovic became the first player combining for 30+ points, 5+ assists and 5+ steals in a single game in a FIBA Basketball World Cup game since 1994, when additional stats were started to be monitored.
Bogdanovic could not be contained by the Italian defense
Stats Don't Lie: Serbia not only out-rebounded Italy 35-27, but they also moved the ball better finishing with 24 assists against Italy's eleven. And the biggest difference between the two sides lied on the bench rotation, where Serbia's bench outscored Italy's 44-18.
Bottom Line: Serbia and Italy offered some of the best European basketball can offer. Tactically matched, it offered some breathtaking moments until the end of the third quarter with the likes of Bellineli,Galinaro and Bogdanovic coming up with incredible plays.
Even though both teams secured their spots in the Second Round prior to this game, the first three quarters were a much-contested game with their records carrying over to the next phase of competition.
Finishing top of Group D was key to Serbia and Italy as the the two sides will switch to Wuhan's Group J, where will go up against Spain and Puerto Rico who finished first and second of Group C, respectively.
They Said: "We had a very important game. We stated a little nervous but we showed we were the better team. We controlled the game even if we didn’t play too good. Italy is a good team with players with NBA experience. We’re looking forward to the next round." - Serbia forward Nemanja Bjelica
"It’s not easy to win three times against any team even if people say were much better than them. They have pride and quality, a great shooting team. We just struggled a bit to get into our flow but we never stopped defending. I’m not happy about some of our reactions to some physical fuels because that’s not what we want. It’s important our young players understand that." - Serbia head coach Sacha Djordjevic
"Congratulations to Serbia. They are a very good team but now we must focus on our next games. Right now it’s win or go home for us, and we have to do a better job against our next opponents." - Italy forward Gigi Datome
"Difficult to play against Serbia. They have power and outside shot. We have no inside game and even if we make some good shots, we just couldn’t beat them. We have to play good at least 90% of the game to compete." - Italy head coach Meo Sacchetti.