Karl-Anthony Towns left everything on the court. However, it was not enough to hinder a solid game shown by Serbia. The European team led the game almost flawlessly and by a Bogdan Bogdanovic who was inspired.
In the end, it was simply too much for the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean team was defeated in the group stage of the FIBA Basketball World Cup. Despite the defeat, the Dominican Republic ended its participation in the tournament with its head held high.
Towns Resilient in National Team's Defeat
Bogdanovic scored 20 points on seven-of-seven shooting from the field to defeat the Dominicans by an overwhelming 112-79 score in the second round of the FIBA World Cup.
The game was played at Smart Araneta Coliseum. Towns, who had 25 points and seven rebounds, committed seven turnovers. The Dominican could not hide his frustration after failing to lead his country to the quarterfinals.
For Towns, the feeling of being left on the road has been devastating and quite heavy to digest. Towns commented that his teammates had done an excellent job and that none of them were ready to go home.
However, many feel that the NBA star has been able to lead his national team and make his country proud. In his first national team experience in a decade, Towns was hoping to advance to the second round, but it was not to be.
Despite finishing winless in two games in the second round after a 3-0 sweep in Group A, Towns said it is a valuable experience to be able to play with his national team.
Towns was substituted in the final three minutes of the game and received a standing ovation from the Dominican fans. It was not an ideal end to the World Cup for Towns, but playing for the Dominicans will be a campaign he will remember for a lifetime.
For the Dominican people, the Minnesota Timberwolves star continues to be a source of national pride and one of the most recognized athletes of the moment.
Even losing the Dominican Republic, Karl Anthony Towns has received recognition from all Dominicans because he gave his all in every game.
This guy does represent me in the NBA.👏 pic.twitter.com/rDDVrgQigK8
- Keylin Acosta (@KeylinAcosta) September 3, 2023
The Effort That Gave Serbia the Victory
Serbia wasted no time in taking control of the game with a 16-2 run in the first quarter. This allowed them to close with a 26-9 lead. The Europeans scored nine straight points at the start of the second quarter and the gap grew to 20 points.
The Dominicans were unable to get back into the game after this blow. Nikola Milutinov and Vanja Marinkovic were also instrumental with 16 points each. Both players only missed one shot.
For his part, Stefan Jovic had a complete game with 12 points, seven assists and six rebounds. Jovic was positioned as one of the key players for Serbia's emergence as one of the best representations of the European continent in the tournament.
Serbia's bench, led by Filip Petrusev's 14 points, extended the lead to 38 points and resulted in a 95-57 score. It all came after a blistering 20-4 run from the last minutes of the third quarter to the start of the final quarter.
Serbia will now focus on the knockout phase, where they will try to reach the Semifinals for the third time in the last four World Cups. Serbia's next opponent will be Lithuania.
For its part, the Dominican Republic finished fourth in Group I of the Second Round. This allowed the Dominicans to improve on their historic result, having finished 13th in 2014.
However, the Caribbean nation secured a ticket to the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments.