What started as a lopsided affair turned into a down-the-wire finish, with Serbia slipping past USA, 94-88, in the Classification Round 5-8 of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019.
Serbia shot the lights out in the first period in Dongguan, connecting eight times from beyond the arc for a 32-7 lead heading into the second quarter. The Americans found their groove, though, dominated the second stanza and trailed by just four points at the half.
It remained nip-and-tuck for much of the second half before the Serbians rebuilt their double-digit lead in the fourth period and successfully kept the Americans at bay.
Bogdan Bogdanovic and Vladimir Lucic combined for 43 points to lead Serbia, while Harrison Barnes had 22 for Team USA.
Turning Point: Serbia led by just three points at the beginning of the final period, but behind Vladimir Lucic, Vasilije Micic and Boban Marjanovic, they erected a 13-point lead with just 4:43 left. Team USA would still try to make a late comeback, trimming the lead to as little as four points, but it was all for nothing as the Serbians proved steadier down the stretch.
TCL Player of the Game: Bogdan Bogdanovic shot the lights out at the Dongguan Basketball Center, sinking seven three-pointers on his way to a game-high 28 points. He shot a total of 10-of-17 from the field and added 6 assists and 4 rebounds to his tally. Moreover, Bogdanovic is the first player with 20+ points scored in 5 different games in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019.
Stats Don’t Lie: Coach Sasha Djordjevic’s squad were red-hot from long distance all game long, nailing 15 triples on 48 percent three-point shooting. Bogdanovic had the highest tally followed by Lucic’s three treys. Nemanja Bjelica and Vasilije Micic each drained two triples, while Nikola Milutinov had one.
Bottom Line:Serbia have a chance to play for fifth place while Team USA will play for seventh place. Both countries will fly to Beijing for their final Classification Round assignments. Serbia will face the winner of the Poland v Czech Republic encounter, while Team USA will face the losing team.