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Serbia a step closer to back-to-back Universiade basketball titles


10:49, August 22, 2011

SHENZHEN, China, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- Serbia stayed on course for back-to-back Universiade men's basketball titles by beating Russia 81-61 in a semifinal on Sunday.

In a replay of the Belgrade 2009 Universiade final, Serbia was rarely troubled, securing its place in Monday's gold medal match against Canada with a dominant all-court display.

Trailing by two points midway through the opening quarter, Serbia piled on eight unanswered points to establish a 16-10 lead and comfortably maintained that advantage for the rest of the match.

Russia fought to reassert itself at both ends of the court but was no match for Serbia from the field, shooting at just 36 per cent from the floor to Serbia's 63 per cent in the opening half.

Leading by 19 points at the half, Serbia continued to dominate after the major break.

Ten players contributed to Serbia's final points tally. Vladimir Lucic led the charge with a game-high 18 points and six rebounds.

For Russia, Viatcheslav Zaitsev was the leading scorer with 15 points and five rebounds.

Serbia will enter Monday's gold medal decider intent on reversing its 70-67 loss to Canada in the preliminary rounds, its only defeat of the tournament so far. Canada qualified for the final by beating Lithuania 83-68 earlier on Sunday, one day after Luthuania had upset the USA in the quarterfinals.

"We were hoping we'd get to play Canada again," said Serbian captain Nikola Dragovic.

"We played our worst basketball against them in the group stages, but we're confident if we fix a couple of things that we can come out and reverse the result."


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