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31 August
15 September, 2019
Game Report
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Red-hot Bogdanovic leads Serbia to fifth place finish

BEIJING (China) - Serbia needed a strong second half and Bogdan Bogdanovic's hot shooting to rally past Czech Republic, 90-81, and finish among the top five teams at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019.

Behind stingy defense and terrific perimeter shooting, Czech Republic erected a 50-41 lead at the half, but the Serbians got their act together in the last two periods to register their sixth win in eight games.

Bogdan Bogdanovic had the hot hand for Serbia with 31 points, and he was assisted well by Nikola Milutinov, who had 14. The Czechs, meanwhile, drew 16 points from Patrik Auda.

Turning Point:
 Staring at a nine-point half-time deficit was not in Serbia's plans, but they rose to the occasion and turned the tables on the Czech Republic in the third quarter. The Serbians outscored their foes, 28-12, in that span to retake the lead for good.

TCL Player of the Game: As he has always done in this tournament, Bogdan Bogdanovic spearheaded Serbia's charge, saving his finest shooting display for last. Bogdanovic was red-hot in this one, draining 10-of-17 field goals, including seven three-pointers, en route to his game-high 31-point total.

Stats Don't Lie: Coach Sasha Djordjevic's squad asserted their size advantage to no end in this encounter, and it could easily be seen in the rebounding numbers and points in the paint. Serbia outworked Czech Republic on the glass, 43-33, and outscored them around the basket, 40-28.

Bottom Line: Serbia's final 6-2 record is nothing to scoff at but for a team this big and deep, their actual standing still did not meet lofty expectations. Now they will go back to the drawing board and hope they qualify for Tokyo 2020 through next year's Olympic Qualifying Tournaments.

The Czech Republic showed sharp form in the first 20 minutes, but eventually, the more talented team imposed their will. Still, there's nothing to be ashamed of for the Czechs, who surpassed many expectations by finishing eighth overall.

They Said:
"It's hard to talk about this game, but it was a good ending to a great tournament. We did an amazing thing and nobody expected these two teams to play for fifth spot. We did a great job the whole tournament. We just made history for our country. It was an amazing tournament, and I hope the future generations will pick it up from here." - Czech Republic forward Pavel Pumprla

"We squeezed the lemon again and again tonight, but we knew it would be tough against this kind of team. In the end, it's a magic tournament for us. We played great basketball offensively and defensively. All the respect to our players. They really fought and gave their all. We now make basketball go forward in our country. Remember also that all tournament we played without EuroLeague MVP Jan Vesely. With him, who knows?" - Czech Republic head coach Ronen Ginzburg

"Now we feel better. I want to congratulate Czech Republic on a nice tournament and a really great game. They gave us a hard time, especially in the first half. I want to congratulate my teammates on another good tournament. We didn't make it till the end, but I know we will come here next time and be more motivated." - Serbia guard Bogdan Bogdanovic

"Congratulations to Bogdan on a great tournament. He was really exceptional. We needed the team to play better defense, and this is something we need to work on, this bunker-like defense. This may be due to less time spent together this summer. Nevertheless, we had a good game overall, especially in the second half. We had some tough moments, but we adjusted and responded with our philosophy and transition basketball. It's a great sign that we really worked hard to get this far. And yes, it's true what has been reported, I'm leaving the national team." - Serbia head coach Sasha Djordjevic