FIBA World Cup 2019: Argentina enter first semi-finals in 13 years with clinical 97-87 win over Serbia

The Associated Press

Dongguan: Luis Scola scored 20 points, Facundo Campazzo finished with 18 points and 12 assists and Argentina earned their first trip to the World Cup semi-finals in 13 years by ousting Serbia 97-87 in a quarter-final matchup on Tuesday.

Patricio Garino added 15 for Argentina (6-0), which will face either the US or France in Friday's semi-finals.

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 US 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 center 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, who 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 quarter-final 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 US 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.

Also See: FIBA World Cup 2019: NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo unable to save Greece from elimination in victory against Czech Republic

FIBA World Cup 2019: Defending champions USA beat Brazil to set up tricky quarter-final encounter against France

FIBA World Cup 2019: Canada basketball team pin title hopes on Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse

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