Serbia led all but 26 seconds of the night before holding off Russia an exciting EuroBasket 2017 semifinals in Istanbul, Turkey. Serbia will face Slovenia in the gold-medal game on Sunday, while Russia will play Spain for the bronze.
Russia 79-87 Serbia
EuroLeague champ Bogdan Bogdanovic netted 24 points with 4 assists, big man Boban Marjanovic had 18 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists, while Vladimir Lucic of Bayern Munich played a key role with 13 points and 8 rebounds while making a couple of key defensive plays down the stretch for Serbia which returns to its first EuroBasket final since 2009. Lucic's Bayern teammate Stefan Jovic finished with 8 points and 6 assists, but left the game in the second half with what appeared an ankle injury. Alexey Shved of Khimki Moscow Region starred with 33 points and 5 assists, CSKA Moscow forward Andrey Vorontsevich scored 14 points, and Dimitriy Khvostov of Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar netted 10 in defeat. A pair of runs, a 0-5 to start the game, and a 0-7 soon after, with Jovic and Bogdanovic in main roles, gave Serbia 6-12 margin. Russia did not let advantage grow, as three-pointers by Shved and Vorontsevich got them within a single point, but Vasilije Micic of Zalgiris Kaunas hit a long jumper at the end of the first quarter, making it 20-25. Khvostov nailed a triple, and Shved made 3-of-3 from the foul line to make it 26-28, but that's when the show by Jovic, Bogdanovic and Marjanovic started. The three men combined to score 12 consecutive points, before Bayern's Milan Macvan capped a 0-14 run to open 26-42 lead midway through the second quarter. Vorontsevich stopped the bleeding for Russia, but Serbia went into halftime up 34-48, and behind-the-back assist by Macvan for his Bayern teammate Lucic restored a 16-point margin, 55-39. However, Russia was not going away. Shved, CSKA’s Vitaly Fridzon and Vorontsevich each hit a three that cut the deficit to 52-57, forcing a Serbia timeout. But Dragan Milosavljevic of Unicaja Malaga nailed a corner triple for Serbia, and Jovic drove for a layup that gave Serbia more breathing room, 52-64. Serbia entered the fourth quarter up 57-66, but Russia kept it close. Khimki’s Andrey Zubkov had a pair of baskets, and two three-pointers by Shved closed it within 73-75. But Micic answered with a three-pointer, and Bogdanovic added one of his own to open 74-81. A mid-range jumper by Bogdanovic 38 seconds later sealed the deal.