By Marian Reibert
Novi Sad, Serbia
FIBA World Championships Under 19: Final
Serbia 74 – USA 69
In a packed gym, Serbia faced nemesis Team USA for the world crown. It was Serbia from the beginning as Dusan Katnic scored his seven points all in a first quarter closing a run that gave Serbia and the crowd a boost with a 22:14 lead. In the second Serbia caught even more momentum as they went on to build the lead up to 19 points with a 14:3 scoring spree that saw Team USA somehow rattled. It was U19 WC MVP Milan Macvan 19pts. 10 reb., who despite his athletic shortcomings, was just too smart for the US frontcourt, killing them with his inside scoring and rebounding and superb positioning and even going outside for some threes that thrilled the crowd. Coach Wainwright took a timeout and regrouped his side that answered the call and took the air out of the crowd with 12 unanswered going into the half with a reasonable gap. Jeremic who played all 40 minutes was hot in the third as his shooting prevented Team USA from digging too deep in the lead and when the final quarter arrived they were still down ten. Deon Thompson carried Team USA on his back in the fourth to pull them within five points with just 1 minute to go. A costly and unnecessary turnover by Beverley 15 pts. 8 reb. then gave USA no chance but to foul and when Stojacic showed jitters, Serbia had Jeremic 24 pts. go to the line and he delivered. The crowd broke lose after the final buzzer sounded and Serbia coming out on top. USA was dreadful from the free throw line shooting only 11/24 for 45 % and only 28% on threes. Serbia even gained the rebounding edge over USA as no one for Team USA managed to rebound in double figures.
*Check back Wednesday for a report on the top NBA prospects from each team.