LILLE, France (AP) — Zoran Erceg scored 20 points and Milos Teodosic had 14 assists as Serbia advanced to the semifinals of the European basketball championships with an 89-75 victory over the Czech Republic on Wednesday.
Serbia’s bench contributed 50 points and Erceg was nearly perfect from the field as the Serbs overcame 23 points and 10 rebounds from Jan Vesely, the Czech center who played club basketball in Serbia.
Guard Tomas Satoransky kept the Czechs in the game by scoring 14 of his 20 points in the third quarter, when Serbia led by 10 but went into the final period with only a four-point lead.
Teodosic, who finished with 12 points, made a three-point play to make it 75-64 with seven minutes remaining and Serbia sailed from then on.
Serbia, which won the silver medal at the last year’s World Cup, next plays Lithuania.
Center Miroslav Raduljica added 16 points for Serbia and Nemanja Blejica had another Serbian double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Erceg’s only miss from the field was one of his four 3-point attempts.
“We knew that it was going to be a tough game and the Czechs confirmed that they are a good, hard team,” said Erceg, a power forward whose career has been plagued by injuries. “I hit some important shots today but it’s a matter of team play. One of us always steps up and today I was the one. This is just another step on our path.”
The Serbs kept Satoransky to two points in the first half, but the Czech guard exploded after the break.
He and Vesely were giving Serbia a hard time, but they got little support. Guard Blake Schilb, who also played club basketball in Belgrade, had 11 points, but all came in the first quarter. The Czech bench produced only 14 points.