Serbia booked their spot in the Eurobasket semi-finals after they defeated Czech Republic 89-75 in Lille on Wednesday evening.
Zoran Erceg paced Serbia with 20 points and Miroslav Raduljica added 16 for Serbians as they broke through a stubborn Czech Republic resistance, by shooting 63 percent from the field.
Milos Teodosic was largely responsible for Serbia’s high shooting percentage, as the CSKA Moscow guard masterminded the offence with 12 points and 14 assists.
Jan Vesely led Czech Republic, who bows out in their first ever Eurobasket quarter-final appearance with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Tomas Satoransky had 20 points and 10 boards.
An early technical foul on Nikola Kalinic for continuously moaning to officials earned him a seat on the bench by coach Sasha Djordevic and for that, the Czechs, led by Blake Schlib raced to a 10-5 lead.
Guided by Stefan Markovic though, Serbia fought back and his lay-up, that drew contact handed the Serbs a 19-18 before Schlib struck again from inside to level the scores at 21-21 after one.
Showing no signs of slowing down following his 27-point showing against Finland in the second round, Raduljica went to work inside and made life difficult for Czech’s frontcourt and assisted by Erceg, who had 11 points in the first half, Serbia edged ahead 45-42 at the half.
And it wasn’t long before the Serbs gained their first double-digit lead of the game, which was regained after a quick bucket by the Czechs as an inch perfect bounce pass by Teodosic found a back door cutting Markovic for the lay-up.
The Czech Republic though were not to be outdone, and fought back towards the end of the third thanks to a thunderous dunk by Satoransky and a bucket from Vesely, but Serbia were clinging on at 67-63, heading into the final period.
Despite the momentum being on the side of the Czechs, Serbia’s class shone through. Teodosic hesitated then exhibited a change of pace for the three-point play basket that put his 75-64 to the good.
Vesely kept his side competitive, but for all his inside prowess, and the efforts of the Czechs, the Serbians were too strong. They were finding noticeable gaps in the defence and taking advantage.
Tomas Satoransky (Czech Republic):
We were able to be in a game for 34, 33 minutes against a great team like Serbia with very talented players, individually and they started with very aggressive defence which gave us some problems but we were still able to be in a game in the first half and in the second we fight through it but they showed their talent.
Stefan Markovic (Serbia):
We expected a tough match because we saw how the Czechs played, especially against Croatia. They have five, six really great players so we expected a big game. We ere going to play our game and we did that so we have two steps more in front of us to where we want to be.