Argentina ousts Serbia, moves into World Cup semifinals

DONGGUAN, China — Luis Scola scored 20 points, Facundo Campazzo finished with 18 points and 12 assists and Argentina earned its first trip to the World Cup semifinals in 13 years by ousting Serbia 97-87 in a quarterfinal matchup on Tuesday.

Patricio Garino added 15 for Argentina (6-0), which will face either the U.S. or France in Friday’s semifinals.

Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 21 points for Serbia (4-2). The team came into the tournament fully expecting to win gold — after losing title games to the U.S. at the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, then rolling to wins in its first two games in China by a combined 105 points.

Bogdanovic’s 3-pointer with 1:20 left got Serbia within 91-85, capping a spurt that came with All-NBA centre Nikola Jokic on the bench. But Campazzo’s jumper on the next possession pushed the lead back to eight, Serbia threw the ball away seconds later and the blue-and-white-clad Argentine fans in the stands knew it was time to celebrate.

Scola was 26 the last time Argentina was in the Final Four of the World Cup, then called the world championship. A mere 13 years later, he’s headed back to the medal round at FIBA’s biggest event.

Nemanja Bjelica scored 18 and Jokic finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds for Serbia.

Argentina led most of the way, lost the lead briefly on the first possession of the fourth quarter when Marko Guduric made a 3-pointer for Serbia — which the winners answered with a 19-6 run over the next 6 minutes.

The Dongguan half of the bracket is simply loaded — far more so than the half in Shanghai, the other quarterfinal site.

Serbia-Argentina pitted the world’s fourth- and fifth-ranked teams, respectively, against one another. On Wednesday in Dongguan, it’s the No. 1-ranked U.S. against No. 3 France.

Meanwhile in Shanghai, world No. 2 Spain meets No. 25 Poland later Tuesday and No. 11 Australia takes on the 24th-ranked Czech Republic on Wednesday. The four teams that earned a trip to Dongguan outscored opponents by a combined 429 points in the group stage; the four teams that advanced to Shanghai outscored group-stage foes by a combined 150 points.

TIP-INS

Serbia: Boban Marjanovic had a short and eventful second-quarter stint — picking up three fouls, one of them an unsportsmanlike, and committing a turnover in just over 2 minutes. … Serbia grabbed 15 of the game’s first 17 rebounds and finished with a 42-29 edge.

Argentina: By the midway mark of the first quarter, the Argentines had two fouls and another with three — Tayavek Gallizzi, who was whistled three times in 82 seconds after he came in because starter Marcos Delia was in foul trouble. … The Olympic berth Argentina claimed by being one of the top two World Cup finishers from the Americas region — the U.S. is the other — is its fifth straight and eighth overall.

SCOUTING

If the U.S. beats France on Wednesday, the Americans will play Argentina in the semifinals at Beijing on Friday. So the U.S. sent its scouting group — Jeff Van Gundy, Lloyd Pierce and Ime Udoka among them — to see the Argentina-Serbia game in person. U.S. coach Gregg Popovich said he’s watching plenty of games on off days, but is letting the group led by Van Gundy handle the bulk of the scouting details.

BONUS PRIZE

Argentina gets more than a trip to the semifinals — it gets an extra day off. After playing every other day so far in the tournament, Argentina will have two full rest days before seeing either the U.S. or France on Friday.

UP NEXT

Serbia: Faces U.S.-France loser on Thursday at Dongguan in the consolation round.

Argentina: Faces U.S.-France winner on Friday at Beijing in the semifinals.

Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Trudeau cancels Caribbean trip amid pipeline protests

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is cancelling his planned trip to… Continue reading

Town of Ponoka facing lawsuit from pair of local residents

Ponoka town council members and administration have been served with a lawsuit… Continue reading

Trudeau confers with cabinet ministers as rail blockades continue

The Trudeau government has been criticized for not doing more to end the blockades

Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

TYENDINAGA, Ont. — Hours of talks between the federal government and representatives… Continue reading

Red Deer County investing in fibre optics

County investing $7 million over two years to improve Internet connections

Fashion Fridays: Apple body types: What you need to know

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Your community calendar

Feb. 6 A Perogie Supper is being held Thursday, Feb. 6 from… Continue reading

Woman loses 50 pairs of shoes after boyfriend accidentally donates them to thrift store

Cassandra Converse can’t wait to go shoe shopping. Last month, Converse’s boyfriend… Continue reading

RDC Queens fall in double OT to MacEwan University Griffins

Griffins 4 Queens 3 (2OT) The RDC Queens managed to salvage a… Continue reading

Trump takes Daytona 500 warmup lap in presidential limousine

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — President Donald Trump gave an election-year embrace to… Continue reading

Canada expected to support heavy fuel ban in Arctic despite costs to northerners

The federal government is expected to support international measures that would reduce… Continue reading

Nurses’ unions warn national standards for coronavirus protection too low

OTTAWA — The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions is warning that the… Continue reading

‘Sonic’ speeds to $57M debut; ‘Parasite’ sees big Oscar bump

NEW YORK — The redesigned “Sonic the Hedgehog” showed plenty of teeth… Continue reading

Justin Timberlake on ‘trauma’ of being pelted with bottles at SARS concert

TORONTO — Justin Timberlake is still haunted by being pelted with what… Continue reading

Most Read