|16 July 2011|
U20 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP
Yet another shocking outcome took place on Day 3 of the U20 European Championship in Bilbao as Serbia lost to Slovenia 102-80 and fell out of the race sooner than ever.
For the first time in their history Serbia will play in the 13-16 Classification Round and will try to avoid an unthinkable relegation to Division B.
Slovenia enjoyed a great second half to take their first win in the championship, and finish Group A with a 1-2 record, while Serbia lost for the second day in a row and dropped to 1-2, losing the tie breaker for the third place to Slovenia.
Serbia will face no other than Croatia and Lithuania, as well as Austria, in the fight for survival. Two of these teams will play in Division B next year.
At least one of three powerhouses - Serbia, Croatia or Lithuania - will play the Division B games in 2012, and for Serbia this could be the biggest drop as the 1991 generation from Serbia won the gold medal in the U16 and U18 European Championships.
Marko Pajic led Slovenia with 24 points, Alen Omic added 21 with 8 rebounds, while Edo Muric finished with 19 points and 11 boards.
Serbia got 26 points from Nemanja Nedovic and 18 from Nemanja Jaramaz.
Slovenia was on top of the game from the first quarter, but Serbia fought back again and again, yet a late third quarter run by the Slovenians broke the spirit of the Serbs, crossed the 20 point barrier and decided the game earlier than expected.
The Serbs scored only three points in the last four minutes of the first quarter allowing their opponent to create a 14-3 run and hold a 23-14 gap after 10 minutes.
Nedovic and Danilo Andjusic scored on the Serbian end, yet Pajic was on fire and Slovenia finished the first half up 46-37.
The chase continued and Branislav Dejkic made it just a 7-point game, 68-61, in the 27th minute, yet then came a 16-2 run in two minutes that kept Serbia 21 points behind with just 10 minutes to fix it, yet that fix never came.
Omic dunked to post an 89-63 score and Jan Span increased the gap to almost 30, 94-65 as Serbia's subs tried to decrease the gap, but never got close to save their team from the bottom of the group.