Russia and Serbia reach FIBA EuroBasket semifinals

Russia's Aleksei Shved, center, drives to the basket as Greece's Ioannis Bourousis tries to block him during their Eurobasket European Basketball Championship quarterfinal match in Istanbul, Wednesday, Sept. 13. 2017. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis

One day after Spain and Slovenia picked up wins in the quarterfinals of FIBA EuroBasket 2017, Russia and Serbia did the same to fill the remaining spots for the semifinal round. Russia defeated Greece by the final score of 74-69, earning its first trip the semifinals in six years. They’ll be opposed by Serbia, with the silver medalists in last year’s Summer Olympics defeating Italy, 83-67.

Russia erased a 10-point second quarter deficit in its win over Greece, with Khimki guard Aleksei Shved leading the way offensively with a game-high 26 points. Also scoring in double figures for the Russians were Brooklyn Nets center Timofey Mozgov, who chipped in with 15 points, 10 rebounds and two blocked shots, and CSKA guard Vitaly Fridzon who finished with 11 points.

Greece was led offensively by Panathinaikos and former NBA guard Nick Calathes, who scored 25 points while also dishing out seven assists. Forward Georgios Printezis, who plays for Olympiacos, finished with 19 points and five rebounds, and center Ioannis Bourassis, who plays professionally for the Zhenjiang Lions in the Chinese Basketball Association, added 10 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals.

While Russia needed to make a comeback in order to advance to the semifinals, things were a bit easier for Serbia in its quarterfinal matchup. Serbia limited Italy to 37.9 percent shooting from the field in its 83-67 victory, and a balanced offensive effort in which five players scored in double figures helped as well.

Sacramento Kings guard Bogdan Bogdanovic led the way with 22 points while also grabbing six rebounds, with Milan Macvan (13 points, six rebounds, three assists), Vladimir Lucic (11 points, four rebounds), Dragan Milosavljevic (10 points, six rebounds) and Detroit Pistons center Boban Marjanovic (10 points, seven rebounds, four assists) being the other double-digit scorers. Italy finished the game with just two players in double figures: Atlanta Hawks guard Marco Belinelli (18 points) and forward Luigi Datome (15 points).

As noted above Spain and Slovenia will meet in the other FIBA EuroBasket semifinal matchup, with those teams advancing with wins picked up on Tuesday. Spain defeated Germany 84-72 in one quarterfinal matchup, with Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol scoring a game-high 28 points while also grabbing 10 rebounds. Atlanta Hawks point guard Dennis Schröder led the way for Germany with 27 points and eight assists.

Slovenia advanced with a 103-97 win over Latvia, with projected 2018 lottery pick Luka Doncic tallying 27 points and nine rebounds in his highly anticipated matchup with New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis. Porzingis led all scorers with 34 points while also grabbing six rebounds.

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