Yugoslavia, using a combination of a big frontline and a talented trio of guards, beat Italy 61-49 Sunday for its second consecutive European Basketball Championship and fourth in the last five.
“I can honestly say we were never afraid of losing this game,” Yugoslavia coach Zeljko Obradovic said. “This team has the best offense of anyone.”
Forward Dejan Bodiroga led Yugoslavia’s balanced attack with 14 points as it put an impressive final win on its run through the bi-annual 16-nation tournament.
Carlton Myers, who led Italy with 17 points, made two free throws to bring Italy within 49-44. Bodiroga then hit a short jumper and with 2:30 remaining, Sasha Danilovic, who played last season for the Dallas Mavericks, nailed a 3-pointer to make it 54-44.
With the game out of reach in the final minute, tournament MVP Aleksandar Djorjevic turned to the large Yugoslav contingent in the crowd and pounded his heart with his fist. The fans roared their approval.
Vlade Divac, the Charlotte Hornets center and part of the Yugoslavia team that won the silver medal at the Atlanta Olympics, came onto the court to join in the post-game celebrations.
Russia won the third-place game with a 97-77 victory over Greece.
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