The Australian men’s basketball team lost to Serbia 71-66 at the Diego Gianatti International Basketball Tournament in Italy overnight.
Perth Wildcat Damien Ryan hit a 3-pointer to tie the scores with 45 seconds to play but with Serbia’s next possession they responded with a 3-pointer of their own.
The Aussies then missed an eight foot jump shot and were called for an offensive foul going for the rebound that effectively ended the game.
Sydney Kings recruit Glen Saville top scored for the Boomers with 14 points while Victoria’s David Andersen supplied 12 points and 5 rebounds in support.
South Australian Brad Newley recovered from a stomach virus and recently twisted ankle to provide a spark off the bench and posted 10 points.
The defeat puts Australia in second place in Group A at the end of the preliminary round behind Serbia and ahead of Turkey, who have been eliminated from the top four teams.
Australia must now face unbeaten European powerhouse Italy in the semi finals, to be played at midnight tonight, Australian time.
“Each game we’ve played the quality of the opposition has gotten better and even though we lost there were a lot of good things that came out of tonight,” Boomers head coach Brian Goorjian said.
“We played all 14 players so we had a deep rotation and we played all four point guards and got to have a good look at them.
“Brad Newley is well again and he played some minutes and did a good job.
“Glen Saville hasn’t played this kind of international basketball for a while and he lifted tonight and was a level above what he has been.
“We fell behind and had to fight back and we did that, which was quite pleasing.“The results on this tour aren’t as important as making progress and we made progress in this game. “We’re here to get better for when we face New Zealand and we’re doing that.”Serbia got off to a flyer but when Newley came off the bench late in the first quarter the Boomers began scoring with ease. They trailed 25-21 after one period and 39-36 at half time before defence became the priority. The scoring dried up almost entirely for both teams in the third quarter but the Serbs managed to extend their three point half time lead to eight points with a quarter to play, 50-42. Australia showed great fight to grind down Serbia’s advantage in the final quarter and draw level with less than a minute to go and if a 50-50 offensive foul call against David Andersen with seconds remaining went the other way, the victory could have been Australia’s.Brisbane Bullet and NBL MVP Sam Mackinnon led the rebound count for the Boomers with 12, while Luke Kendall returned from a thumb injury to play 11 minutes and compile 3 turnovers and no points.Quarter by quarter:1: AUS 21 SRB 252: AUS 15 (36) SRB 14 (39)3: AUS 6 (42) SRB 11 (50)4: AUS 24 (66) SRB 21 (71)AUSTRALIA 66 – G Saville 14, D Andersen 12, B Newley 10 lost toSERBIA 71 – M Gurovic 22, D Milicic 17, M Jaric 12