FOSHAN, China, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 kicked off here on Saturday as title favorites Serbia cruised past Angola 105-59 in the first round of Group D.
photo by Foshan News
Serbia's coach Sasha Djordjevic attributed his team's victory to "serious game, serious approach, serious preparation."
Bogdan Bogdanovic led Serbia's scoring sheet with 24 points. Nikola Jokic and Nikola Milutinov scored 14 apiece.
In the nearly full-packed Foshan International Sports & Cultural Center, both sides caught on fire beyond the arc in the opening period, as Serbia shot six of seven, while their African opponents made four out of five.
Without their superstar Jokic, currently playing in NBA's Denver Nuggets, in the starting five, Serbia opened their scoring from starting center Boban Marjanovic's easy lay-up. Marjanovic had 12 for Serbia.
With 5:38 remaining in the quarter, Jokic's substitution drew hurrah from the crowds. Serbia led 29-20 through another NBA player Bogdanovic's unrestrained performance on three-pointers in the first quarter. The Sacramento Kings shooting guard made all three attempts outside the paint.
Serbia went on to build a 50-32 advantage into the halftime.
The European powerhouses never seemed contested by Angola in the second half. After Milutinov's slam dunk, their lead was extended to over 30 points midway through the third quarter en route to as many as 49 points in the final 12 minutes.
"We played a great game from the beginning until the end. We are tough and strong, and mentally we are ready," Milutinov pointed out.
"When everybody talks about the first game, there is a little bit pressure and anxiety, and everybody wants to do good. But we had a good opener defensively and offensively.
"We controlled the ball, had a lot of assists and found some good open shots. We had some players in good shooting shape that is always good towards the upcoming games," added Djordjevic.
Serbia made 13 of 20 three-pointer shooting, and outclassed Angola 32-7 in assists.
"They are a really good team, and shot the ball very well," admitted Angola's coach William Voigt.
Later on Saturday, Italy will take on the Philippines in the group's another match-up.