Serbia beats Canada in World Cup semifinals

Serbia beats Canada in World Cup semifinals

Serbia used an 11-0 run in the first quarter to grab an early lead and never looked back en route to a convincing 95-86 victory over Canada in the FIBA World Cup semifinals.

With the victory, Serbia will advance to play the winner of U.S.-Germany in the tournament championship Sunday, while Canada will play for its first-ever men’s World Cup medal against the loser.

After putting up gaudy numbers throughout the World Cup, Oklahoma City Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had a quiet game for Canada, scoring 15 points on eight field-goal attempts. New York Knicks forward RJ Barrett led the way with a game-high-tying 23 points.

“Credit to Serbia, they played a great game,” said Barrett after the loss. “They played hard, they played physical, they’re very well-coached and disciplined. We’ve got to give them credit for that.”

While Canada’s guards and wings performed admirably, its starting frontcourt of Dwight Powell and Kelly Olynyk put up just 11 combined points.

Canada picked up 25 total personal fouls, and five of its players received at least three in the game.

Though the Canadians hit a respectable 48% of its field goals in the contest, Serbia was red-hot throughout, knocking down 62% of its shots, including 71% of 38 twos.

Atlanta Hawks wing Bogdan Bogdanovic scored a hyper-efficient 23 points on 12 shots, while big man Nikola Milutinov recorded a 16-point, 10-rebound double-double.

Point guard Aleksa Avramovic also made a massive impact, registering a plus-15 in just 15 minutes of action, scoring 10 points, and picking up two steals while playing pressure defense on Gilgeous-Alexander.

Serbia’s basketball depth was on full display in Manila despite Nikola Jokic, the two-time NBA MVP and reigning Finals MVP with the Denver Nuggets, sitting out the tournament.

“It doesn’t matter who’s not here, it’s all about this group of guys,” said wing Marko Guduric. “Whoever’s wearing this Serbian jersey, we never give up. We fight until the end, it’s in our blood.”

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