Men's Uni Games team lose in nail-biter to Serbia

Men's Uni Games team lose in nail-biter to Serbia

The Uniroo's Men's Basketball team have dropped a nail-biting clash against Serbia in their opening game of the Summer Universiade Games to Gold Medal favourites, Serbia

A red hot shooting display by Trian Iliadis in the 4th quarter was not quite enough to get the Australian Men's basketball team over the line in their opening game against Gold Medal favourites Serbia, 72-67.

The loss was a bitter pill for the group who fought back from a double figure deficit twice during the match to come within a possession of their more-fancied opponents.

Led by a blistering shooting display by Iliadis and some great team defense the University men were able to real in their opponents and almost cause a major upset.

The Serbian team was lead by experienced senior national player Vladmir Stimac who hit 8 from 9 from the field for a game high 17 points. 

The Serbian team raced out to a commanding first quarter lead through some clinical pick-and-roll offense before the Aussie team fought back with a run of their own in the second term to tie up the scores.

The Serbians steadied just before the half and wrestled back momentum with some big plays from guard Marko Ljubicic who also finished with 17 points for the game. The European team headed into the long break 31-21.

A more aggressive approach in the third quarter particularly at the offensive end of the floor, got the Aussie team back in the contest and ticked the scoreboard over to close the gap to four points.

Some intimidating defense by Matt Hodgson who ended with three huge blocks for the game and some fast break conversions gave the Aussie team all the momentum going into the last quarter.

Foul trouble to team captain Ben Dowdell slowed the Aussie team down and the Serbian's took advantage again by breaking out to a 10 point lead mid-way through the fourth.

The Aussies never gave up and with some long bombs from Iliadis and Ryan Broekhoff the guys were back in the contest in the last two minutes of the game.

Unfortunately, free throw shooting played a big part in a tight match with the Serbian team edging out the Aussies from the foul line, other than that all other categories were balanced.

"It was a great effort, these guys never quit and showed toughness to keep coming back but some unnecessary fouls and breakdowns were the difference in a close match,” said head coach Mick Downer.

“We'll learn from this and get better as we face the challenge of having to win out our remaining games to make the top eight. It's definitely doable – this is a tough group of men,” said Downer.

Australian University Men 67 (Iliadis 14, Steindl 11) def by Serbia 72 (Ljubicic 17, Stimac 17)

Box Score