DONGGUAN, China – Argentina became the first semifinalist team at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup having prevailed 97-87 over Serbia thanks to 12 three-pointer storm, the character the Latin side showed and an outstanding performance by Facundo Campazzo.
Following its win at the Dongguan Basketball Center, Argentina made its fourth semis appearance at the World Cup and is now pending a match against the winner between the United States and France.
Everything was done well by the Argentine team, who was scoring easily as well as managing to rebound the ball and to force the opponent to commit faults.
In addition, team captain Luis Scola, 39, was useful for Argentina in defending the Serbian outside attack as the Shanghai Sharks power forward scored 20 points and made five rebounds.
It was a new milestone for the current Argentine basketball generation that does not feel burdened by the shadow of the Golden Generation, which Scola honored to have played with.
Argentina, which has already secured its ticket to Tokyo 2020, managed to keep up its dream run at the World Cup, after getting past a talented Serbian team which was disoriented during the game.
It was not the Balkan team’s day; despite the Serbian team’s scoring 21 points by Bogdan Bogdanovic and Nikola Jovic’s double-double (16 goals and 10 rebounds), Serbia national team missed chances against its undeniably talented South American opponent.
The beginning of the game was a clue to Argentina’s plan that relied on solid defense against Serbia’s attacking strategy, in addition to Facu Campazzo’s creativity, as he went on scoring 18 points and making 12 assists.
Furthermore, the Latin American side managed to earn an eight-point lead into the first quarter (42-4) after just three minutes, thanks to three-pointers by Campazzo and Scola.
Serbia insisted on its superiority for playing from the inside, managing to earn a total of five fouls within a five-minute stretch, to even the score at 16-16 in minute six.
Afterwards, Campazzo scored another three-pointer and continued to make further assists, helping his side to hold on to its dominance and end the first quarter 25-23, as the Serbs were the better side on rebounds.
In the beginning of the second quarter, Serbia regained a narrow-gab lead twice, but Argentine coach vowed not to defend from inside, relying on a small quintet strategy that was successful on rebounds and counterattacks, and Argentina then were eight up again in the 13th minute (36-28).
The Serbian squad was unable to stop Argentina’s progress, as the Eastern Europeans went to the break trailing five points on the scoreboard (54-49).
Until that point, Serbia’s first star Bogdanovic was not at his best, but he scored a three-pointer just after the intermission to get his team back into the game, yet it was short lived as Argentina managed to score twice afterwards, a two-pointer and a three pointer.
The same scenario was repeated again and again, Serbia would narrow the gab and then Argentina would increase it again, until the third quarter ended with a one-point advantage for the Latin squad (68-67), thanks to a trend of good play by the Balkan side.
With a three-pointer into the fourth quarter, Serbia took the lead one more time, but it quickly passed, as Argentina scored two three-pointers in a row, and by minute 36 the Latin American team had a nine-point advantage (82-73).
Despite their continuous tries to narrow the gap, the Serbs continued to seem unable to keep up with the South Americans, and Argentina eventually succeeded in finishing the match with a 10-point advantage (97-87).