Serbia awaits Spain for Euro title game

Updated: September 19, 2009, 6:29 PM ET
Associated Press

KATOWICE, Poland -- World champion Spain defeated Greece 82-64 on Saturday to advance to the European basketball championship final against Serbia.

The win gives Spain, a six-time tournament runner-up, another shot at its first European title on Sunday. Serbia beat Slovenia 96-92 in overtime behind 32 points from Milos Teodosic.

Spain held Greece scoreless for the first four minutes of the second quarter to open a 34-24 lead that Greece couldn't get below seven points.

Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol led Spain with 18 points, while Portland Trail Blazers guard Rudy Fernandez added 14.

Tony Parker scored 28 points to lead France past Turkey 80-68 for a spot in next year's world championship.

After trailing by as many as 19 in the first half, France battled back to tie the game at 59 late in the third quarter. Parker, who plays for the San Antonio Spurs, made two free throws to spark a 17-0 run that put the French ahead for good.

"We are so happy to win this game because the first quarter was really tough for us, we were down 20 and never gave up," French forward Florent Pietrus said. "And we're so happy because we're going to the world championship next year."

France and Turkey both lost in the quarterfinals, and were playing only to determine the final placings. The top six teams at the tournament automatically qualify for next year's world championship. Turkey has already qualified as the tournament's host nation.

Turkey, which was playing less than 18 hours after a 76-74 overtime loss on Friday to rival Greece, ran out of energy against a French team that had one full day of rest.

"Because of the schedule, in not 24 hours we played two very tough games," Turkey guard Kerem Tunceri said. "The first maybe 15 minutes we played great, but after that because of our condition we went very bad down."

Croatia earned the other automatic bid for the 2010 worlds, beating defending champion Russia 76-69 behind 18 points and eight assists from Roko-Leni Ukic.

Croatia will play France Sunday for fifth place, while Russia will face Turkey in the seventh-place game.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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