By Eurohoops team / firstname.lastname@example.org
Italy was on a mission on Sunday night. That mission was to return to the Olympics for the first time since 2004.
And so they did, with nearly a blowout against tournament hosts and Rio Olympics silver medalists Serbia, as they pulled through with a 102-95 win to advance to Tokyo.
Meo Sacchetti’s squad managed to take control and never ceased to lead, as the deficit rose to 24 points (73-49) with three minutes to play in the third quarter. Serbia rushed back to make it a 10-point game with less than two minutes to play, though it was all in Italy’s favor in the end.
Achile Polonara emerged with a double-double of 22 points and 12 rebounds, Nicolo Mannion posted 24 points, 4 rebounds for Italy, and Simone Fontecchio had 21points and 8 rebounds to lead the Italian selection back to the Olympics.
Danilo Adjusic paced Igor Kokoskov’s selection with 27 points, Filip Petrusev posted 22 points along with 5 rebounds and Ognjen Dobric had 17.
Serbia saw Vasilije Micic spending limited time on the court in the Belgrade final, and head coach Igor Kokoskov commented on his situation in the post-game press conference.
“Obviously a medical issue. He would have played a lot more if he was ready to play 100%. Unfortunately he wasn’t”, said Kokoskov.