Nenad Kristic scored 17 points to lift Serbia over Italy 76-64 in the 7th -8th place consolation game at the FIBA Europe Championships on Sept. 21. Kristic, who last played in the NBA in 2011 with the Boston Celtics, also grabbed four rebounds.
With the win, Serbia claimed the final Europe spot for the 2014 World Cup.
Nemanja Bjelica collected 12 points, 10 rebounds and four assists and Golden State rookie Nemanja Nedovic and Stefan Markovic both chipped in 12 points for Serbia. Nedovic, who knocked down 2-of-5 three-pointers, also had four rebounds and four assists.
Serbia jumped ahead 12-5 with three-balls from Nedovic and Bjelica. The gap was 15-10 when Serbia closed the first quarter on a 12-1 run to lead 27-11 after 10 minutes.
Serbia increased their advantage to 19 points (30-11) before Italy was finally able to work their offensive game. Italy closed the margin to 32-23 with 4:01 left in the half following a 12-2 surge. But Serbia punched right back and the cushion was 41-27 at the break.
Italy started the third quarter on a 8-2 run as Golden State‘s Marco Belinelli and Datome each knocked a three-pointer (44-35). But Kristic slammed home a dunk on a feed from Nedovic and Nedovic also hit a couple of three-pointers to increase Serbia’s lead to 12 points. Serbia led 55-44 after three quarters.
Vladimir Stimac scored the first five points of the fourth quarter for Serbia to give them a 60-47 lead.
Italy gave one final push and got to within eight points -- 62-54. But Krstic scored a big bucket and Nikola Kalinic and Markovic nailed back-to-back triples to bring the margin to 70-54 and end Italy's hopes for good.
Serbia shot 50 percent from the field and held Italy to just 35.7 percent shooting from the floor. Serbia also out-rebounded the Italy 42-26.