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U19 World Championship 2013: 1/2 Finals

July 6th, 2013 · No Comments

The semi-finals of the U19 World Championship have been played today and here is out report.

Australia – Serbia 58 – 63

After a minute of testing each other, Australia opened the game against Serbia with missed free-throws by Dante Exum who got defended by Stefan Pot. Nicholas Duncan grabbed the rebound and added a triple while Djoko Salic got already his second foul. Exum flew his first basket in and after another bucket, Serbia had to take a timeout  at –7. Nikola Milutinov helped Serbia to break the ice together with Pot but Australia had the early control. Exum was unable to be held by any Serbian defender and when he added his second three-pointer, the Emus went up 15-7. Exum got his first rest which Serbia used to reduce the gap a little on a nice Pick and Roll finished by Milutinov. But Exum came back and found his team mate out of the double team to bring the score to 18-11 after the first period

Vasilije Micic found his rhythm on offense and brought Serbia back to 18-18 on a nice scoop shot and their defense effectively held Exum away from the rim. Pot added a great drive and Australia remained scoreless for the first four minutes of the second quarter and took a timeout. Micic had two hard drives finished by laybacks but Duncan showed his skill set with a big offensive rebound followed by a three-pointer. Micic and Pot though continued to attack the gaps on the Australian defense but Milutinov got a stupid third foul shortly before the halftime break. Nevertheless, Serbia was up 7 points.

Exum opened the second half with a highlight drive and the foul on Micic. Australia switched to a zone defense but Serbia found Nikola Jankovic twice in the paint for the easy score. Exum really wanted to take over at that moment as Pot was on the bench and added a difficult three-pointer out of the dribble. The Aussies were back in man-to-man but Jankovic was scoring again and again. Australia missed several good opportunities so that Serbia went up to plus ten but Felix Kalau von Hofe scored twice from the corner to keep his team in the game. But Micic found his team mates to perfection when driving to the hoop which gave Serbia a massive advantage in points scored in the paint. However, Exum managed to steal one more ball and score from the free-throw line to reduce the gap to only 2 points. Pot though grabbed the ball and managed to beat the 3rd quarter buzzer with a driving layup.

Australia continued to struggle on good opportunities as Exum missed free-throws and Dane Pineau could not finish from close. Serbia though was unable to use this phase to create a new gap. Nikola Jokic added a superb underhand score out of the low post but Duncan was present again by backing his man down and score on the jump hook. Mihajlo Andric, who did not score until that moment, came up with a massive triple over Exum that forced the Aussie coaching staff to take a time out as Serbia was up 6 with 5 minutes on the clock. Exum, who was defended by Jovan Novak wanted the ball in his hands and could use a defensive switch to beat Andric easily for the tough hook score to bring the score to 50-54.

The Aussies increased their defensive pressure and forced Serbian turnovers but Pineau remained unlucky. Duncan showed the way and reduced the score to 2 points with 1.18 minutes to go. Jankovic was the target of the Serbian offense after the timeout and the PF executed a nice move to finish with a left handed hook. Kalau von Hofe scored the big three pointer but Novak had his first bucket of the game to bring the difference back to four points. However, Kalau von Hofe did not ask many questions and hit immediately another triple. Micic got fouled and scored only one free-throw. Serbia decided to foul Exum which was a wise choice as Exum missed twice from the line. Micic was sent again to the charity stripe and made two this time. Exum missed the desperation three and Serbia was on the way to the final.

Lithuania  – USA 60-100

The US Team did not wait for a long time to take the lead in the game. Attacking the hoop hard and looking for their superior inside players, Jarrell Stokes scored five quick points to take a 7-2 lead. Marcus Smart added points on his side so that the game looked already done after a few minutes because of the domination of the North Americans. Aaron Gordon showed some handle on transition and Justice Winslow his unreal energy level so that Lithuanian coaching staff had to take a time out already after only 5 minutes in the game. For the Lithuanian team, only Tomas Dimsa and Marius Grigonis could handle the pressure somehow until Augustinas Jankaitis scored on the offensive rebound twice. Grigonis added another one with the foul and the difference was only 9 points at the quarter buzzer.

The American pressure continued in the second quarter and the forces of the greens already started to drop. Two fast break dunks later, the US were up by double digits but Rokas Gustys found an opening in the paint. Lukas Lekavicius forced the transition with his ball handling and reduced the gap again to 9. However, with Dimsa and Grigonis on the bench, the USA were taking over again and forced another timeout by the Lithuanian coaches. This did not help really to change the game situation as Gordon came back with some great plays and the difference grew to more than twenty points.

The Lithuanians managed to keep the difference around twenty points throughout the third quarter but the superior pressure of the Americans was taking over. Winslow and Gordon added the show with some high-flying dunks but the Lithuanians continued to play with their best players. After 30 minutes, the difference was nearly thirty points as well. Not much to add either on the last quarter where both teams finished the game calmly.

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