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Spain trounces Serbia to claim spot in EuroBasket semis

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Ljubljana, Sep 18 (EFE).- Spain's national basketball squad routed Serbia 90-60 here Wednesday to advance to the semifinals of the EuroBasket 2013 tournament.

Playing with desire, determination and even fury, the Spanish players were bent on putting their poor results and sloppy play from earlier in the event behind them and bringing their "A" game throughout the quarterfinal contest.

A bucket by center Marc Gasol, a 3-point shot from shooting guard Jose Calderon and another basket by small forward Rudy Fernandez staked the Spaniards out to an 8-0 lead in just two minutes.

But Spain's defense was even more impressive, with point guard Ricky Rubio coming fast to Gasol's aid to double-team Serbian star Nenad Krstic, who was held to just four points for the contest.

The scoreboard, which read 21-5 at the end of the first quarter, merely reflected the clear superiority of the defending champions.

The second quarter then belonged to Spanish reserve point guard Sergio Rodriguez, who ran the offense effectively, played solid defense and scored 14 points.

Serbia, the top team in second-round action in Group E, had no answer for the Spanish squad's onslaught and went into halftime trailing by a virtually insurmountable margin of 48-23.

Nothing changed after the intermission, as Spain increased its lead to 35 points with a 10-0 run and soon after stretched the advantage to a whopping 40 points with less than 14 minutes left in the game.

With the contest firmly in hand and his sights already set on the battle for a medal, Spanish coach Juan Antonio Orenga rested his top stars down the final stretch.

Rodriguez led all scorers with 22 points, while Fernandez added 19; Danilo Andusic and Rasko Katic were the only two Serbian players in double figures, each notching 11 points.

Prior to Wednesday, this edition of the EuroBasket had been a frustrating affair for Spain, which was stunned by Greece and upset in overtime by Italy in second-round play.

Despite their surprisingly lackluster form, the Spaniards managed to squeak into the knockout stage by finishing fourth in Group F.

Next up for Spain in the semifinals will be either tournament host Slovenia or France, who were in action late Wednesday.

The other two quarterfinal contests - pitting Croatia against Ukraine and Lithuania against Italy - are scheduled for Thursday.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/agencia-efe/130918/spain-trounces-serbia-claim-spot-eurobasket-semis