Germany finishes the 2023 edition of the FIBA World Cup unscathed, defeating Serbia in the gold medal game, 83-77, to capture the country’s first-ever title in FIBA’s flagship tournament.
Dennis Schroder, aptly named tournament MVP, scored 28 points and tallied 2 rebounds and 2 assists to lead the German attack. Franz Wagner provided ample support with a 19-7-2 game.
Both teams refused to give up an inch to the other in the first twenty minutes, which saw 15 lead changes and eight deadlocks before entering into the break at 47-47.
After losing starting guard Ognjen Dobric two minutes into the game due to a twisted ankle, Serbia found an anchor—per usual—in Bogdan Bogdanovic. The Atlanta Hawks wingman went on to hit big shot after big shot for Serbia, scoring 15 on 3-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc in the opening half. The Serbs also saw timely baskets from Nikola Jovic and Aleksa Avramovic.
Germany, who defeated heavy-favorites USA in the semifinals, answered back led by the duo of Schroder and Wagner, who both had 14 points apiece in the first half.
Come the third quarter, the Germans took up their defense a notch, limiting the Serbians to just 10 points in the period while scoring 22 themselves to take a 69-57 lead. It was the first time in this tournament that coach Svetislav Pesic’s squad trailed by double digits.
The 2014 FIBA World Cup silver medalists, however, just wouldn’t go away that easy. Avramovic carried the load and scored 16 markers in the final frame. Germany, on the other hand, missed multiple open looks.
With 1:21 remaining in the game, the Deutschland lead was down to 3 points, 78-75. With Germany splitting two free throws and Serbia making a couple in the next plays, the lead was trimmed further to 79-77.
Then, Schroder took the matter into his own hands—breaking down the defense and making a layup in traffic with 21 seconds left to put the nail in the coffin. It was enough to give them their eighth win in eight games, and to clinch the title.
Avramovic ended the game with 21 markers in the losing effort, while Bogdanovic was limited to only 2 points in the second half to finish with 17.
Serbia now settles for its second World Cup silver and is now one of three teams who have reached multiple finals without getting the gold, joining Russia and Argentina, who have also lost twice in the final stage.