Nico Mannion Italy Serbia
Photo: FIBA Basketball

Nico Mannion made the difference offensively for Italy and led his team past Serbia in the Final of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade.

Mannion went for a team-high 24 points, as the Italians stood tall in the game and endured the comeback of the Serbians to earn the victory (95-102).

Achille Polonara (22 points) and Simone Fonteccio (21 points) also scored 20+ points for the winners, who led from start to finish and never looked back.

Italy were in front by 12 at halftime (45-57) and extended their lead to 24 in the third quarter. After that, the Serbians attempted to make a comeback, but couldn’t come closer than seven points (93-100, 95-102).

Italy advanced to the Olympic Games and will now be placed in Group B to face Australia, Nigeria and Germany.