Aug. 5, 2008
RIGA, Latvia - Serbia, featuring Washington State University men's basketball rising-junior Nikola Koprivica, came from behind and outscored Spain 26-14 in the fourth quarter for an 80-73 victory, Tuesday in Group F play at the 2008 U20 Men's European Basketball Championship.
"It was quite a game," Koprivica said. "We played poorly early on, we just didn't play our game. In the fourth quarter we started playing how we're supposed to and made a big run and turned it around. It was a very big win."
Serbia improved to 2-1 overall, tied for second with France in Group F. Montenegro leads the group with a perfect 3-0 mark after defeating Russia (0-3). Previously undefeated, France fell to Latvia (1-2) earlier in the day. Serbia will take on Montenegro next, whom it beat handily in the preparation period prior to the start of the championship.
A native of Belgrade, Serbia, Koprivica came off the bench to record an assist and a steal in seven minutes of action. He saw limited playing time due to two early fouls. Koprivica is the lone captain of the team.
"It seems to be a theme, one game I play well, another game someone else plays well and I don't," Koprivica said. "It's the same way with everyone else, we cannot all connect. Today I had problems, I had some stupid fouls early on. The guy who's sharing minutes with me played well and he stayed in the game most of the time."
Serbia held a 22-19 lead at the end of the first quarter, before Spain fought back for a 39-37 halftime lead. The Spanish continued to hold the Serbians in the third quarter as they entered the fourth period of play with a 59-56 advantage.
The Serbians opened the fourth quarter with a 6-0 run to take a 62-59 lead. Serbia didn't trail again in the game, going on for an 80-73 victory.
Group play continues as Serbia takes on undefeated Montenegro, Wednesday, Aug. 6 and championship-host Latvia, Thursday, Aug. 7. All 16 teams take Friday off before bracket play begins Saturday, Aug. 9 prior to the championship, Sunday, Aug. 10.