World Basketball Championship: Schedule : Standings : Scoreboard | NBA
Serbia and Montenegro 90, Venezuela 65
SENDAI, Japan (Ticker) -- Igor Rakocevic made the most of his 
playing time.

Rakocevic scored 26 points in as many minutes to lift Serbia 
Montenegro into the next round of the World Championships with a
90-65 romp against Venezuela in a Group A matchup.

The Serbian guard showed the full extent of his scoring
repertoire by scoring 19 points in the first half as the
defending champions took a 46-29 advantage into the break.

"It was a very important win as we are now assured of going
through to the next round," Serbia  Montenegro coach Dragan
Sakota said.  "We were able to get off to a great start and we
had a big enough lead by the end of the first quarter to know
the outcome of the game."

Rakocevic had 13 in the first quarter alone to help the Serbs
(2-2) race out to a 27-13 lead in the opening frame.  But the
period did not end well for Serbia  Montenegro as Ognjen
Askrabic injured his left ankle on a 3-point attempt and is
likely to miss Thursday's game against Argentina.

"It's the third time that he has injured the ankle since we
started the preparations for this tournament, so I think he will
have to miss (Thursday's) game," Sakota said.

Darko Milicic also had an excellent first half at both ends of
the court for Serbia. The Orlando Magic forward showed his
devastating inside-outside game, and at the same time, contained
the explosive Richard Lugo.

Venezuela's best offensive weapon, Lugo was limited to only two
points in the first half while Milicic collected 11 points, nine
rebounds and three blocks.

Rakocevic made a 3-pointer for a 53-31 advantage as part of a
huge third-quarter run by Serbia, which took a 71-40 lead on
Milicic's basket late in the period.

Milicic finished with 18 points, 11 rebounds, six blocks and
four assists.  Vule Avdalovic chipped in 12 points while Nikolic
had all eight of his points in the second half.

Victor Diaz led a balanced offense for Venezuela (1-3) with 11
points. Lugo, Pablo Machado and Oscar Torres added 10 each.

"We didn't come out strong enough and ready to play," Machado
said.  "We were quite static in the first quarter and that's why
we fell behind by so much.  Our defense was really bad and
Serbia  Montenegro were able to exploit that weakness.  Once we
trailed by double digits, it was pretty much game over."
 

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