Greece’s hopes of advancing in the World Cup Basketball tourney ended in the round of 16 on Sept. 7 with a resounding 90-72 defeat at the hands of Serbia.
A young, rebuilt Greek team, missing many veteran stars who had retired, were hurt or didn’t want to play, had won its group with a 5-0 record but came apart at the seams against an experienced Serbian team, which forced 14 turnovers and rattled the Greeks throughout.
Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 21 points to lead Serbia which led most of the way and kept its poise while the Greeks floundered with an array of mistakes and missed shots.
The Serbs took a 46-42 edge into halftime, sparked by a couple dunks from Nikola Kalinic, who finished with 12 points,all in the first half.
Serbia then put the clamps on defensively, holding Greece to 13 points in the third period when it began a 30-10 spurt that rolled into the final quarter.
Five Serbian players ended up in double figures, including former NBA big men Miroslav Raduljica (16 points) and Nenad Krstic (10 points).
Memphis Grizzlies guard Nick Calathes from Florida led the Greeks with 14, and Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo added seven but he was never a factor.
Serbia shot 54 percent from the floor, including nine of their 17 three-point tries while Greece hit only 9-of-24 from behind the stripe, a 44 percent rate.
Serbia will now play the winner of Brazil-Argentina in the quarter-finals.