RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 19 points and Serbia got its first Olympic basketball victory as an independent nation, beating Venezuela 86-62 on Saturday night.
Miroslav Raduljica added 18 points on 7-for-8 shooting for Serbia, part of an international basketball power in the old Yugoslavia but absent from the Olympics since 2004, when it competed as Serbia and Montenegro. Serbia became an independent country two years later.
The Serbians won a silver medal two years ago in the Basketball World Cup, but didn’t qualify for the Olympics until winning a qualifying tournament it hosted last month.
Jose Vargas and Gregory Echenique each had 12 points for Venezuela, the surprise winner of last summer’s FIBA Americas championship to reach the Olympics for the first time since 1992. After a solid start, the Venezuelans managed just nine points in the second quarter.
Venezuela plays the U.S. next on Monday.