Serbia 89-75 Czech Republic
Serbia pulled away in the fourth quarter to defeat the Czech Republic 89-75 and clinch a berth in the semifinals at EuroBasket 2015 in Lille, France. Serbia will face Lithuania in Friday’s semifinal. Zoran Erceg paced the winners with 20 points and Panathinaikos Athens center Miroslav Raduljica added 16, while CSKA Moscow maestro Milos Teodosic and reigning Euroleague MVP Nemanja Bjelica each posted double-doubles. Teodosic totaled 12 points and 12 assists and Bjelica was worth 14 points and 10 rebounds. Fenerbahce Istanbul big man Jan Vesely led the Czechs with 23 points and 10 rebounds, FC Barcelona Lassa playmaker Tomas Satoransky provided 20 points and Blake Schilb of Galatasaray Istanbul added 11.
Schilb scored 7 points in a 0-9 first quarter run as the Czechs surged ahead to lead 5-12. Serbia regrouped and Unicaja Malaga point guard Nemanja Nedovic tied it at 21-21 after 10 minutes. Serbia went ahead in the second half, but Vesely helped keep his team close. The scoreboard showed 45-42 at halftime. Serbia surged in the third quarter after Bjelica buried a triple and Euroleague Rising Star Bogdan Bogdanovic of Fenerbahce added a free throw for a 63-53 lead. A wicked slam by Satoransky and a score by Vesely kept the Czechs within 67-63 through three quarters. However Serbia allowed its opponent just 1 point in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter, while three-point plays by Raduljica and Teodosic took the difference to 75-64. The Czechs traded baskets and twice drew within 7, but a Bogdanovic triple with three minutes to go essentially iced the game at 87-72 and sent Serbia to the semifinals.
Italy 85-95 Lithuania
EuroBasket 2013 runner-up Lithuania remained on track for a return to the title game after knocking off Italy 85-95 in an overtime thriller. Jonas Valanciunas dominated the paint for the winners with 26 points and 15 rebounds, while Zalgiris Kaunas playmaker Mantas Kalnietis hit a big triple in the extra session and then dished a pair of assists on baskets that clinched the win among his 14 points and 11 assists. Reigning Turkish Airlines Euroleague champion Jonas Maciulis of Real Madrid posted 19 points and 10 rebounds and Unicaja Malaga forward Mindaugas Kuzmiskas added 13 points for the winners, who made 11 of 18 three-pointers (61.1%) for the game. Andrea Bargnani led Italy with 21 points, Marco Bellineli added 18, Danilo Gallinari 17 and EA7 Emporio Armani Milan’s Alessandro Gentile scored 12.
Lithuania threatened to pull away early when swingman Renaldas Seibutis of Zalgiris Kaunas scored twice in a 0-8 run that made it 13-20, but EA7 Milan point guard Andrea Cinciarini capped the Italy response to tie it. Kuzmiskas split free throws to put Lithuania up 20-21 after 10 minutes. Little separated the sides in a second quarter that featured five lead changes, the last of which came on a Valanciunas layup that pushed Lithuania ahead 36-37 at halftime. Lithuania came out strong for the second half and Zalgiris forward Paulius Jankunas put his team in control at 40-48. Italy coach Simone Pianigiani called timeout and was rewarded with a dunk and layup by Gentile to halve the deficit. A Gallinari triple completed Italy’s comeback at 52-50. A triple by Kalnietis granted Lithuania a 59-60 edge through three quarters. Lithuania managed to hold a slim lead for much of the fourth quarter and pumped it to 68-74 before Bargnani scored twice to even things at 74-74 with three minutes to go. However Maciulis responded with a triple from the top of the key to restore a Lithuania advantage. Gallinari’s layup tied it at 79-79 with 32 seconds to go and both teams missed their final shots to set up overtime. A pull-up triple by Kalinetis gave his side a promising 81-86 cushion with less than two minutes on the clock. He then sent an assists on consecutive offenses to Valanciunas and Jankunas that iced the outcome and sent Lithuania to the semifinals.