MANILA (Reuters) – Germany stunned the in-form United States 113-111 in a thrilling knockout match on Friday to advance to a FIBA Basketball World Cup match against European powerhouse Serbia.
Goalkeeper Andreas Obst raised Germany, which includes four players in the NBA, to 24 points and six assists, including a three-pointer. Franz Wagner added 22 points, and forward Daniel Theis, who plays for the Indiana Pacers, added 21 points.
Obst’s three-pointer backwards step and Schroeder’s shot gave the Germans a comfortable six-point lead with 40 remaining, despite the USA team’s resistance.
The Germans took advantage of the Americans’ usual slow start to take a 25-15 lead on Dennis Schroeder’s three-pointer with 4:30 minutes left in the first quarter.
Team USA, made up of NBA players, bounced back and took on the Germans to take a 60-59 halftime lead. It was the highest-scoring first half in a FIBA World Cup semifinal.
Germany dominated the third quarter, taking the lead to end the quarter with a score of 94-84 via two pointers by Schroeder. Wagner’s layup with nine minutes left extended the lead to 12 points.
Anthony Edwards, the Minnesota Timberwolves player, was the best scorer for the United States team with 23 points.
Team USA, ranked second by FIBA, will face Canada for third place on Sunday.
In a previous match, Serbia beat Canada 95-86 by imposing its will in the paint and controlling the boards.
Five Serbian players scored in double figures, led by Atlanta Hawks goalkeeper Bogdan Bogdanovic with 23 points, four rebounds and three assists.
Serbia lost to the United States 129-92 in the final of the 2014 tournament in Madrid, Spain. The Balkan country lost in the quarter-finals of the 2019 tournament in China.
The Balkan nation’s stifling defense forced Canada into turnovers, limiting its North American counterparts to 15 points in the first quarter. Serbia entered the second half leading 52-39 and never relinquished its lead.
“We knew we had to set our rhythm before the game because if you follow their rhythm it will be impossible to guard them,” Serbian midfielder Nikola Milutinov, who scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, told reporters. “We had to strike the first blow.”
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Canada’s leading scorer, passer and rebounder, was held scoreless in the first 15 minutes amid tight coverage and foul trouble. He finished with 15 points, two rebounds and nine assists, well below his tournament average of 25 points per game.
The 19th edition of FIBA’s quadrennial flagship event will end with the crowning of a new champion on Sunday. Defending champion Spain was eliminated in the preliminary matches.
Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales, editing by Christian Radnedge
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