Russia and Serbia advanced to the medal round at EuroBasket 2017 with respective victories over Greece and Italy in Wednesday’s quarterfinals at Sinan Erdem Dome in Istanbul, Turkey. They will meet in Friday’s semifinal game. Slovenia and Spain will play each other Thursday for a spot in the gran finale.
Italy 67-83 Serbia
Serbia put itself in position to win its first EuroBasket since a silver in 2009 when it defeated Italy 67-83. Bogdan Bogdanovic, playing on the same floor on which he won the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague crown last season with Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul, led all scorers with 22 points for the winners. Milan Macvan scored 13 and his FC Bayern Munich teammate Vladimir Lucic posted 13 and 11 points, respectively, while Boban Marjanovic and Unicaja Malaga swingman Dragan Milosavljevic scored 10 each. Serbia dominated the glass in outrebounding Italy 19-44. Marco Belinelli led the Italian attack with 18 points and Fenerbahce’s Luigi Datome added 15. The Italian defense was in control early as it held Serbia scoreless for more than four minutes, but Fenerbahce teammates Nicolo Melli and Datome were only able to put their side up 5-0 in that period. Zalgiris playmaker Vasilije Micic gave Serbia its first lead, 7-8, and after Italy regained control, 4 points by Milosavljevic left Serbia up 17-18 after 10 minutes. Melli tied the game with a triple early in the second quarter, however Lucic and Macvan hit back-to-back three-pointers to cap a 2-12 Serbia run that made it 27-38. Italy responded with threes from Christian Burns and Datome, but Real Madrid center Ognjen Kuzmic made a pair of free throws to give Serbia a 33-44 halftime lead. The difference swelled to 15 before a pair of baskets by Paul Biligha helped Italy get within 46-54. Bogdanovic sank free throws for a 48-59 Serbia lead through three quarters. Italy refused to wilt, but Bogdanovic remained strong and helped Serbia tack on to its lead and roll to a convincing victory.
Greece 69-74 Russia
Russia reached the EuroBasket semifinals for the first time since 2011 with a 69-74 victory over Greece. Khimki Moscow Region guard Alexey Shved starred once again for Russia with 26 points, 5 assists and 3 steals. Timofey Mozgov came up big inside with 15 points and 12 rebounds, while CSKA Moscow’s Vitaly Fridzon added 11 points and Andrey Vorontsevich collected 12 rebounds. The story of the game for Russia was its defense, which held Greece to 34 points over the final 25 minutes. Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens guard Nick Calathes led Greece with 25 points and 7 assists, Olympiacos Piraeus forward Georgios Printezis scored 19 and Ioannis Bourousis scored 10. After a pair of free throws by Shved gave Russia a 9-13 lead, Calathes scored twice to tie it and added 3 more assists in a 15-4 run that saw Greece take a 24-17 lead after 10 minutes. Calathes added another 5 points as the Greeks put together a 9-0 charge to take a commanding 35-22 advantage midway through the second quarter. However Russia got a basket and an assist each from Fridzon and Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar guard Dimitriy Khvostov in a 0-7 push to get back in the game and only trailed 37-31 at the break. Greece re-stretched its lead to 11 on a jumper by Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul’s Kostas Sloukas, but Shved scored 10 points over the final five minutes of the third quarter to even the score at 51-51. Only a Sloukas-to-Bourousis alley-oop left Greece with a 53-51 edge entering the fourth quarter. The teams traded blows and leads early in the fourth and Calathes used a three-point play for a 59-58 Greece lead, but Fridzon and Shved combined for the next 7 points and Russia never trailed again.