Italy once again demonstrated its superiority over Serbia by effectively slowing down Serbia’s offensive efforts.
Simone Fontecchio’s outstanding performance, where he scored an impressive 30 points, led Italy to a hard-fought 78-76 victory at the start of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Second Round Group I.
This win significantly enhances Italy’s prospects of advancing to the Quarter-Finals.
Despite falling behind by 16 points at the outset, Italy staged a remarkable comeback and now boasts a 3-1 record in the Second Round.
This marks their third consecutive victory over Serbia, following previous wins in the 2021 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament Belgrade Final and the FIBA EuroBasket 2022 Round of 16.
Prior to these victories, Serbia had won their previous seven encounters against Italy. However, Serbia’s record dropped to 3-1 after this game.
Italy began the game strongly, hitting several three-pointers and establishing a 10-point lead in the first quarter. However, Serbia quickly erased this lead in the early stages of the second quarter.
The remainder of the first half saw a closely contested battle. In the third quarter, Serbia managed to take control with an 18-4 run, securing a 60-44 lead.
Italy mounted a spirited comeback in the fourth quarter, going on a 17-2 run to reduce the deficit to 62-61, with Luigi Datome contributing 10 points in just 90 seconds.
Italy’s momentum continued with an impressive 28-7 run, resulting in a 72-65 lead.
Although Marko Guduric made a three-pointer with 50 seconds remaining to bring the score to 76-74, Simone Fontecchio responded with a crucial basket just 33 seconds before the end of the game.
“We are really happy about the win,” Simone Fontecchio said. “We really did an amazing job as a team, especially in the third quarter down 16. We never gave up.
“This simply shows the heart of this team, the will of this team. We just don’t give up. We don’t care if we are down 16. We don’t care how bad we are playing. We just keep playing, keep fighting until the end.”
Watch the game highlights between Serbia and Italy in the Second Round of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023: