Imperious Spain Roll Past Serbia



Turning Point: Danilo Andjusic poured in five quick points at the start of the second frame, matching Serbia's entire first-quarter production within 61 seconds, and Serbia came back to within 12 points, 26-14, on a Djordje Gagic lay-up 7:47 from the end of the period. But Sergio Rodriguez scored his 10th point in that stretch on a triple with 5:12 remaining to spark a 13-0 Spain lead that saw them pull away 43-17.

Game Hero: Spain led 48-23 at half-time largely because of Rodriguez's 14 points and three assists in the second quarter, but Rudy Fernandez was the man to set the pace early on as he went three-for-three from three-point range and scored 13 points in Spain's sublime opening quarter - he finished with 19 points and four rebounds.

Stats Don't Lie: Spain were simply dominant across all statistical categories, but the most telling figure of Serbia's woes was their 38% field goal percentage, as they were denied open looks throughout the encounter.

It was a day to forget for a young Serbian team whose impressive run was halted by a red-hot Spanish outfit

Reigning champions Spain looked at their very best on Wednesday in Ljubljana as they outclassed a youthful Serbia 90-60 to clinch the first semi-final berth at EuroBasket 2013.

Spain did not speculate and did not waste time in making use of their full arsenal in the first quarter-final clash of the tournament.

They closed down all lanes to their basket, contested every shot and every pass and forced their young opponents to commit five turnovers within the opening five minutes.

"We had a great game, we were very accurate on offence since the first minute, we came out knowing what we were playing for and now we are in the semi-finals," said Spain forward Alex Mumbru afterwards.

Fernandez drilled three-of-three triples in the opening quarter and Spain did not waste a single opportunity to run in the open court.

At the other end of the court, Serbia had difficulties even to run through a simple set and Nenad Krstic, his team's leading scorer with 16.7 points-per-game before Wednesday, took just one shot during the first frame.

"We were more disciplined at the back [than in previous games], although it's also true that when they don't hit shots it makes your defence look better," Marc Gasol said after the game.

"But I think we were well-positioned for the rebounds, we run correctly, we shared the ball correctly, small things that seem easy but are less so at this level."

Spain used an 8-0 run and a 9-0 run either side of Serbia's only basket in the first five minutes to take a firm grip on proceedings, 17-2 on two Rudy Fernandez free throws 4:11 from the first buzzer, and they never let go.

They led 21-5 at the end of the first quarter and after Serbia's efforts early in the second frame were met with Rodriguez's determined answers, Spain reached the half-time mark leading 48-23 on a Pablo Aguilar buzzer-beating three-pointer.

"Everything started from the defence but, in a sense, we also defended through our offence because when you make your shots you are better placed to return to defence and they don't have the option for easy baskets," Gasol said.

After the break, Victor Claver poured in seven consecutive points and Sergio Llull hit a triple from the corner 6:42 from the end of the third quarter to extend the gap to 58-23 and effectively kill off any thoughts of a heroic Serbian comeback.

Spain raised their lead to as many as forty points late in the third, but Serbia outscored their famed opponents 21-17 in the final frame to reduce the gap.

Serbia played without injured guard Stefan Markovic, who was watching from the bench.

"I did not use some players because we have a second match-ball tomorrow," coach Dusan Ivkovic said.






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