Sergio Rodriguez (192-G-86) of Spain is the MVP of the 2004 U18
European Championship. The Spanish PG of Estudiantes Madrid led his team
to the gold with an amazing performance in almost every game in the
tournament. Rodriguez finished the championship as the best passer with
8.5 assists and added 19 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.1 steals. Rodriguez
registered 3 double-doubles during the championship.
Carlos Suarez (201-F-86) of Spain was picked for the MVP team of the
tournament. The Small Forward of Spain had 19.1 points, 7.7 rebounds,
1.9 steals, 64.2 2FG% and 46.2 3FG%.
Hakan Demirel (192-G-85) of Turkey led his team to a silver medal
and won a spot in the MVP team as well. His numbers are 15.5 pts, 4.6
assists, 4.1 rebounds and 3.3 steals.
Nikita Kurbanov (200-F-86) of Russia finished as the top scorer of
the tournament with 21.1 points per game and 4th best rebounder with
10.3. The power forward scored only twice less than 21 and finished two
games with a 20+ double double (27 points and 20 rebounds & 26 points
and 21 rebounds).
Johan Petro (214-C-86) of France took his team to a bronze medal
with a big finish in the 3rd place game, and got the center spot in the
MVP team. Petro finished with a double-double average like Kourbanov
with 13.8 points and 10.6 rebounds and added 1.8 steals and 1.3 blocks.
He also had 3 double-double performances in the tournaments.
is the U18 European Champion!!!
Spain is the 2004 U18 European Champion after another amazing
performance right in money time. Tonight in the finals against Turkey
there was no doubt who deserves the win more. Sergio Rodriguez led Spain
to a big finish to a great tournament and a second gold medal for Spain
since 1998. Turkey won its first ever medal while France won the bronze
medal after defeating Italy that gave a good fight.
Spain 89 - Turkey 71 For the second time ever, and for the second time in the last 6
years, Spain is the U18 European Champion. From the 1998 team came out
players like Pau Gasol (Memphis - NBA), Juan Carlos Navarro (Barcelona),
Carlos Cabezas (Unicaja), Jose Calderon (Tau), Felipe Reyes
(Estudiantes) and Antonio Bueno (Real Madrid). The 2004 team has some
superstars of its own. On top of the list is the MVP of the championship
and by far one of the most promising stars of European Basketball in the
years to come - Sergio Rodriguez. The Spanish point guard amazed the
fans again and again with his amazing passes, unstoppable penetrations,
deadly three point shoots and killer instinct. But he didn't carry the
team all alone. Forward Carlo Suarez and the inside players - Albert Fontet, Ivan Garcia and on top of them all Jose Angel Antelo, made a
great contribution themselves to the gold medal of the home team.
The 2004 finals between Spain and Turkey was the most one-sided one
since 1986. An 18 point win, 89-71, was showed once again how big is
Spain. Such domination isn't a common sight in a junior championship.
Spain won the quarter-finals against Russia by 20 points, the
semi-finals against France by 17 and the finals against Turkey by 20
points. The Turkish team stopped its rivals in the quarter-finals and
semi-finals on 56 and 55 points, and in none of the games allowed its
opponents to score more than 75 points, but in the finals Spain was too
much of an offensive power even for the great Turkish team defense, and
scored 89 points. Turkey, that opened the games with an 11 point loss to
Israel, made a great comeback and received the silver medal - first
medal in history of the Turkish basketball in an U18 championship.
Turkey amazed the home team with a 0-9 opener in the first 2:30
minutes. Spain's coach called for a timeout, but it took one more minute
for him team to sharpen its hand. Fontet scored the first Spanish point
in the game, but from then it was an Antelo show. The Spanish forward
scored 7 points in a row, and added a huge block on the other side, and
it was Suarez that completed a 10-0 run that put Spain on top for the
first time in the game, 10-9, 3:30 to play in the 1st. Turkey took the
lead back with points by Akol and Kaya but Sergio Rodriguez got a spot
on the scoreboard with his first two, and a Rodriguez assist to Fontet
in the last second of the quarter gave Spain an 18-17 lead.
Fontet and Rodriguez, first with a three-point play then with a
beautiful fake, kept Spain on top in the first five minutes of the
second quarter and after 5 minutes Spain had a 6 point lead, 29-23.
Rodriguez with another penetration made it a 7 point game, 35-31, but a
beautiful arc of Bayav from the 3 point line and 5 points in a row of
Savas in the paint helped Turkey to reduce the gap to 4 right before the
end of the first half, but Sergio Rodriguez still found the time to
drill one more three-pointer with the buzzer and give his team a 7 point
lead after one half of finals - 43-36.
Rodriguez opened the 2nd half with a penetration that gave Spain a 9
point lead, but Turkey didn't let go and stayed behind by 5-8 for the
next 6 minutes. Another three point hit for Bayav was answered by a
Spanish triple and Carlo Suarez with 2 points in the paint finally broke
the routine and gave Spain a 10 point lead, 58-48, with 3:09 to play in
the third. Turkey took a time out and after Spain increased the lead to
12, answered with a 0-6 run, 60-54. Then it was time for Spain to call
for a time out and come back with a 3 point shot of Garcia. Demirel made
big two in a penetration and stole the ball to Rodriguez, which caused
the Spanish magician to commit a flagrant foul, but Turkey got no points
from this possession, and Garcia with a second hit in a row from the
three-point line gave Spain another 10 point lead, 66-56, with only one
quarter to play in the championship.
If anyone in Spain had any doubts or fear of a Turkish comeback, the
first 2 minutes of the last quarter sure have calmed him down. Spain
opened with a 9-0 run, and took a 75-56 lead. Turkey took another tie
out but the game was already over. Sergio Rodriguez passed the last
minutes of the game giving more and more magical memories for the
spectators of one of the most amazing individual performances in a U18
European championship in many years. With less than a minute to go
Rodriguez left to the bench to say goodbye to great Spanish fans and
received a worthy standing ovation.
Carlos Suarez 27+11reb, Antelo 22+13reb, Rodriguez 20+11as...
Turkey: Demirel 21+6reb, Bayav 17+5reb, Savas 12...
3th place game France 74 - Italy 68 France won the bronze medal in the 2004 U18 European
Championship after beating Italy in the 3-4 game 74-68. France came
really close to lose another game that was deep in its hands, but
although Italy took the lead to its hands deep into the 4th quarter
France had Johan Petro to save the day, and carry his team to a medal.
France set a deja-vu for Italy who had a very bad 1st quarter, just
like in the Semi-finals against Spain. After 7 minutes France was
already up by 15, and Italy was stuck on only 3 points. Finally Italy
found the rim and finished the first quarter behind by “only” 13, 20-7.
Italy tried to add some spice to the game, but the two French towers
- Petro on offense and and 15 on defense with 2 great blocks made sure
France will stay on top in the first minutes of the 2nd quarter.
Belinelli finished a fast break with a 3 point play and made it only
30-21 with 5 minutes to go in the 2nd, but Italy couldn't continue with
the momentum, and finished the first half down by 9, 38-29.
France kept a stable lead for most of the 3rd quarter, but just like
in the semi-finals against Turkey, found the way to make it an
interesting one. Belinelli started the comeback with a huge dunk
penetrating on the right side and finished it with an easy lay up that
brought Italy to minus 1, 53-52. Curti nailed a big three pointer that
helped his team to keep the head above waterline after 3 quarters,
Italy got even closer than that after a 3 pointer by Antonutti that
cut it down to one 62-61 with a little over 7 minutes to play. The
following couple of minutes passed with both teams missing shot after
shot, but it was Italy who broke the ice with a follow bucket of
Canavesi that was worth a first lead 62-63, with 4:30 to go.
Petro with a mid-range jumper gave France the lead for one more time,
and added a huge block on the other side that allowed the French to take
a 67-63 lead with 3 minutes to play. One more powerful follow dunk by
Petro sent Italy to think about it in a time out with 2:35 to go, but
after Canavesi missed a 3 Italy raised its hands. Iraly:Tommaso
Marino 23, Belinelli 16+4reb, Datome 14...
Johan Petro 24+22reb...
Serbia & Montenegro 85 - Russia 81
In their Group A match up Serbia & Montenegro won by 6 points after a
close game. Today, in the battle for the 5th place, we had a similar
story, the same winner and almost the exact same margin. Russia led by
Nikita Shabalkin finished the first half up by 3, 39-42, despite 15
points by the Serbian big name Labovic already in the first 20 minutes.
Mijatovic and Maras took off in the 3rd quarter in favor of SRB for a
64-56 lead after 3 quarters and was ready for the 5th place
celebrations. Not so fast. Russia's Kourbanov with another big game
pulled his team back in the game, and it all came down to the last
minutes. Doudoukine with a tip in 50 seconds to go gave the Russians a
79-81 lead, but a quick penetration by Mijatovic tied the game 10
seconds later. Russia failed to score in the next possession and
Aleksandrov nailed his 15 points down in the paint to put the Serbians
up by 2, 83-81, with 12 seconds to go. The Russian coach took 2
back-to-back overtimes, but his team failed to tie it, and Serbia added
2 more points from the line with 00:00 on the clock. Russia: Kourbanov 21+7reb, Shabalkin 16+6reb, Voronov
15+5reb, Zavoruev 11...
Dragan Labovic 21+8reb, Tripkovic 18+6as, Aleksandrov 15+6reb, Maras
Greece 89 - Israel 82 In the preliminary round Israel managed to surprise Greece and
forced them to fight until the very last second of group B to earn the
top 8 spot. Today Greece got its revenge, although Israel wasn't far
from other surprise. The Israeli team lost all the games in the Top 8
games, but goes home with its head up. Greece finished 7th but had
bigger expectations than that. Israel made an 0-11 run in the first
quarter but the Greek bombs from outside, overall of 15 in this game,
made it a point game, 23-25, after 10 minutes Greece continued with the
momentum in the 2nd quarter and opened with a 13-0 run on their way to a
54-47 lead at half time. Israel slowly made its way back to the game,
finished the 3rd quarter up by 3, 66-69. The Israeli squad felt like the
game is in its hands after leading 67-74 after 33 minutes, but Greece
started another rainy day from 3 point land and decided the game with a
Dimitris Verginis 19, Sakota 18+7reb, Tsarouchas 17+4reb,
Vasilopoulos 15+7as, Mantzaris 11+5as...
Nitzan Hanochi 23+8reb, Nir 22+10reb, Berkowitz 11..
Spain - Turkey in the finals
One more day to go in the U18 European Championship - finals day. The
main event will future an interesting battle between the hosting team
Spain - one of the best offensive teams in the games, against one of the
biggest defensive powers - Turkey. Spain easily beat Italy by 17 points,
while Turkey made a big comeback to take a tough win over France in the
first semi-finals game.
Spain 95 - Italy 78 For appetizer we had a defensive game in the first Semi-finals,
but the second Semi-final was the exact opposite. In the first Turkey
scored 57 and France only 55. In the later, Spain already had 50 points
by half time. Spain got the 2nd ticket for the finals and will face
Turkey for a gold-medal battle. For the second night in a row Spain
faced almost no problems against one of the best teams in the games.
After beating Russia by 20 points in the quarter-finals, Spain continued
to demolish its opponents, and now we witnessed an easy 17 point win
A thundering start for Spain left Italy speechless and scoreless for
2:30 minutes. But before the lights went out on Italy, it went out in
the arena, and the teams had to take a rest for several minutes until
the place was lit again. Italy, that managed to score its first bucket
from the hands of Lechthaler. With 3 minutes to play in the 1st Spain
had only one player with fouls, but it was its super-star Sergio
Rodriguez, who was whistled for his 2nd foul. Italy was down by only 4,
18-14, and it looked like the perfect timing to make a push, but
Rodriguez and Antelo with 4 points each led a 10-0 run, and Spain had
twice as much points as Italy after 10 minutes, 28-14.
Spain had no thoughts to stop there. Antelo added 4 more points and
made it a 17 point game, 32-15. Spain had to give up on Rodriguez for
the rest of the quarter after he committed his 3rd foul in the 12th
minute, but all Spain lacked was the magical passes and great
penetrations of the supreme guard. The full control over what's going on
in the game continued as usuall. First came the first 20 point margin,
37-17, then Belinelli, in a very weak 1st half (only 2 points), went to
the bench and Spain made it a 43-20 game. game over? Not yet. With
Belinelli on the bench it was Antonutti that took over, and led a 1-9
run by Italy, that opened the door for a more encouraging 7-17 run until
the end of the first half. Still, that was enough for a 13 point lead
for Spain, 50-37. The local inside players were so dominating in the
paint that by half time they both had a double-double - Fontet with 12
points and 10 rebounds and Antelo with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Italy opened the 2nd half with a big three pointer by Luca Vitalli,
and with a fast 2 of Antonutti we had a new game, 50-42. The game went
into high tempo as Garcia blocked Belinelli on one side and Datome
blocked Rodriguez on the fast break in the other side of court, but
Italy kept on pushing for a tie. 3:22 minutes went by in the 3rd quarter
when Italy made it a 6 point game, 52-46. Spain's answer came from the 3
point line with 3 hits in a row. First by Suarez, second by Aspe and
last by Rodriguez, and Italy was once again trailing by a double-digit,
68-56 at the end of the 30th minute.
Spain opened the last quarter with one more run to make sure Italy
won't have any comeback wishes. Suarez with 2 triples and Rodriguez with
a huge coast-to-coast, pushed Spain to an 18 point lead, 78-60, and
stuck a fork in the Italian dish. Sergio Rodriguez with a great pull up
jumper from behind the 3 point line, followed by a steal and an easy lay
up set the margin back on 20, 87-67, and that was the finally it.
Carlos Suarez 21+9reb, Antelo 20+15reb, Rodriguez 17+8as...
Luca Vitali 16+5reb, Antonutti 15+4reb, Canavesi 15+4reb, Datome
Turkey 57 - France 55 The first Semi-finals lasted until the very last second before
we had one team in the finals brackets. France led for the majority of
the game, despite a 10-0 opener by Turkey, and started the last quarter
with a 10 point lead of its own, but Turkey stopped the French squad on
no more than 7 points in the last quarter and with a great finish by
Akyol and big center Savas took over the game and got the first ticket
to the finals game where it wil face the hosting team of Spain.
A blasting start for Turkey put the reds on top with a 10-0 after
Akyol sank a three and Demirel a mid-range jumper. Johan Petro scored
the first points for France down in the paint after 3:20 minutes, and
then it was time for the French defense to speak up. Turkey's next
points came only when the clock showed 1:40 to go in the 1st quarter. By
then France has already tied the score with an 0-10 run of its own.
France with the last 4 points of the quarter took its first lead in the
Neither of the semi-finalists were able to connect from 3 point land,
but France had much more efficient tools in the paint and easy points in
the fast breaks. Turkey once again fought for every point and registered
only 4 in the first six minutes of the 2nd quarter, as France took a
16-25 lead. France's first and only three-pointer in the first half, by
Plateau, made it a 10 point game, 18-28, in the 16th minute. Akyol gave
some hope for the Turkish bench by narrowing the gap to only 6 point,
but Cisse answered from the other side with quick 6 points, and made
sure France will finish the first half with a decent margin 25-34.
Three minutes into the 3rd quarter and Turkey was back in the game,
after Savas once again made cut France's margin to 6, 30-36. France
called for a timeout, and came back with a 4-10 run, thanks to two
downtown bombs by Mokongo and Plateau. Turkey didn't stand a chance in
front of the French wall on defense, and a missed 3 point shot by Hakan
Demirel in the last seconds of the 3rd, enabled France to walk into the
last quarter with a 10 point lead, 38-48.
Turkey opened the last quarter with quick 5 points, as Savas made a
bucket and drew the 4th foul from Petro to make it 43-48. Akyol with a
steal and a quick assist for a lay up scratched two more points from the
French lead. Both teams were very nervous and made countless amount of
turnovers and missed shots, until the same Akyol made it a one point
game, 47-48, with 5 minutes to go. France still didn't manage to add a
point to its scoreboard in the 4th quarter, but right in time, before
Turkey takes over, Mokongo stole the ball to Senturk, and finished with
a lay up that gave some air to breath for the French bench. With exactly
4:00 to go Hakan Demirel nailed a great bucket and went to the line to
tie the score at 50-50. France added 2 more for its last Semi-finals
advantage, but it didn't survive for long. Savas, with a great 2nd half,
tied the game, and put Turkey on top with a bonus from the line, 53-52
with 2:30 to go.
Another scoreless minute passed and the same Savas hit 2 shots from
the line to give his team a 3 point lead, 55-52. Salmon and Demirel
exchanged missed shots, and with 35:3 sec to go, Pellin went to the line
to shot two. His first shot jumped once on the rim and went in, and the
2nd was a swish, 55-54. Once again a one point game. Turkey put its
trust in Demireal but the talented guard missed his shots with 20
seconds to go. France time? Not yet. Turkey was on the rebound and it
took the French players 13 seconds to stop the clock with a foul. Bayev
was cool enough to hit both shots and once again increase Turkey's lead
to 3. Akyol did his best to prevent France from taking a 3 point shot,
and with 1:2 seconds to go he made a flagrant foul on Pellin. The first
ball went in, in oppose to the 2nd one and France had its very last
chance. The ball was passed to Petro down in the paint, but the big
center was unable to catch the ball, and Turkey's bench jumped in the
Cenk Akyol 15+5reb, Savas 12+6reb...
Souarata Cisse 14+4reb, Plateau 12...
Russia 80 - Greece 74
The Greeks missed the semi-finals by one point, while Russia was hit in
the head by Spain, but both teams arrive to today's game with big
ambition to continue for the 5-6 game. For 34 minutes the teams were
breathing each other's neck, but a small run by Russia kept the Greeks
behind this time and sent them to face Israel in the 7-8 game, while
Russia will face Serbia & Montenegro one more time. Nikita Shabalkin had
an amazing first half with 12 points, one miss from the field and
already 10 rebounds, but Greece had the lead for the majority of the
first two quarters, thanks to the penetrations of Igor Milosevic, who
had 16 points in the same first half that finished with a 3 point lead
for Greece, 38-41. The Nikitas - Kourbanov and Shabalkin were too much
for the Greek's front court and a big pressure on defense early in the
4th pushed Russia to an 8 point lead, 67-59, with 6 minutes to go.
Greece, just last yesterday, didn't give up and a triple by Ntousan
Sakota tied the game at 73-73 with 3:40 to go. But Greece was unable to
take the lead into its hands, and Shabalkin with a couple of free-throws
made it a 78-76 game for Russia with less than a minute to go. Greece
failed to tie the game, and forgot to foul in time, and once they did,
there was too little time for a comeback.
Russia: Kourbanov 26+9reb, Shabalkin 25+12reb,
Zavoruev 14+10reb, Zibirov 11+5st...
Greece:Milosevits 28+5reb, Sakota 15+7reb, Mantzaris
11, Toutziarakis 11+8reb...
Serbia & Montenegero 88 - Israel 62 Both teams were viciously routed in the quarter-finals. Israel
lost by 23 points to France, while Serbia & Montenegro lost by “only” 20
against Turkey. But tonight Israel once again gave a good fight for only
one half, and finished down by 26 points, 88-62 on the way to another
match-up with Greece in the 7-8 places game. SRB will face Russia in
attempt to finish 5th. Israel was the first to take off. After a minimum
9-8 lead came a 4-12 run until the end of the first quarter, that
finished with Israel up by 9, 12-21, with big contribution from Yoni Nir
and Niv Berkowitz. Tripkovic of Serbia & Montenegro already had 3 fouls,
but his team opened the 2nd quarter with an 11-0 run, and the Israeli
coach called for a timeout. Yoni Nir finally broke the spell after 4:30
minutes without a point but SRB was already on the run, and the first
half finished with Israel down by 6, 36-30. Israel fell asleep once
again, and for 6 minutes didn't score a single point. One turnover after
the other by the Israeli side pushed SRB to a 20 point lead, 56-36.
Israel was once again unable to recover from the big gap, and SRB added
10 more points to its lead pretty quick, and finished the game with a 26
Nenad Mijatovic 22, Aleksandrov 13+7reb, Tripkovic 12, Maras
Jonatan Nir 27+10reb, Hanochi 12...
Lithuania 96 - Bulgaria 88 Lithuania expected to go to the top 8 of the championship, but
after failing to finish in the top 4 of Group B, it was successive in
achieving the closest possible ranking to its goal. In the battle for
the 9th place Lithuania beat Bulgaria in a game that was decided already
after 3 quarters. Deyan Ivanov led his team with 14 out of his 27 points
in the first half, to a small 43-45 lead after 2 quarters. But Lithuania
came more focused from the lockeroom and with a deciding 27-14 3rd
quarter kept Bulgaria from behind. Martynas Pocius had a games high with
30 points in 66% from the field with an addition of 8 assists. Lithuania
held a double digit lead for several minutes until Bulgaria started its
comeback in the 33rd minutes. Deyan Ivanov nailed another 3 pointer that
made it a 7 point game, 78-71, with 6:53 to play. But all Bulgaria could
do from there is to reduce only one more point from the margin, and that
was it. Pocius with a beautiful dunk in the last seconds didn't leave
any hope for Bulgaira to finish above the 10th place.
Martynas Pocius 30+8as, Aleksandrovas 27+7reb, Andriuskevicius
Dejan Ivanov 27+6reb, Slaveykov 14+7reb, K.Ivanov 13+4reb, Velikov
11+4as, Georgiev 10...
Georgia 80 - Latvia 71
Georgia's 2nd win of the tournament saved them from the last place. In
the 11-12 place game it was Latvia who suffered a loss, despite another
big performance of Edgars Jeromanovs who finished with 29 points and 9
rebounds. Latvia had full control over the game in the first half that
ended with the Latvians lead by 11. George Tsintsadze of Georgia was
injured one minute before the end of the first half and never came back,
but that didn't disturb his team to come back from behind and after
trailing 32-43 at halftime, to take a 53-52 lead with 4 minutes to play
in the 3rd. Manuchar Markoishvili added another 3 pointer to send his
team to the 3rd rest with a 61-55 lead. Viktor Sanikidze dominated the
last quarter for Gerogia, and Latvia couldn't find the answer for a
comeback. Georgia's lead swayed between 6-12 and settled right in
between with the final buzzer.
Viktor Sanikidze 26+9reb, Markoishvili 16+6as, Didia 12+4reb,
Edgars Jeromanovs 29+6reb, Elbakjans 10+5reb...
Spain - Italy, France - Turkey in the Semi-finals
Two teams from each preliminary round group will play tomorrow night in
the Semi-finals of the U18 European Championship. Spain - Italy, France
- Turkey. Three of the teams had a pretty easy job and won their games
by 20 points or more. France put an end to the cinderela story of Israel
with a 23 point win, Turkey eliminated Serbia & Montenegro with a 20
point win while Spain jumped over Russia with a 20 point win of its own.
Italy was the only team that had to fight for its place in the
Semi-finals, and it was one hell of a fight. It took an overtime and a
last second missed shot by Greece to give the Italians a ride to the
France 79 - Israel 56 The first quarter-final match set a meeting between Israel and
France. The Israelis came from the top of Group B and with a big push
after 2 wins in a row. France came from the exact opposite side after 2
losses in a row and the 4th place in Group A.
Despite the 23 point margin for France, Israel was strong in the game
in the first half and even had a small 29-33 lead, before France
finished strong with an 11-1 run. In the second half it was already a
one-sided game. France allowed Israel to score only 22 points, dominated
the boards (38-23) and marched to the Semi-finals where it will face
Turkey for a very interesting match up. Israel will play SRB in the 5-8
France opened the game with a 3 pointer, but Israel replied with the
same coin. France took off to a 12-7 lead after 4 quick points of Johan
Petro and maintained the lead until the teams went to the first time
out, 2:23 to go, with France up 16-11. in the last minute of the
quarter, France was able to take off for a 9 point lead, 22-13, but Ofir
Prahi of Israel nailed a 3 pointer with the buzzer to set the first
quarter score on 22-16.
Israel continued to push forward. Cisse held France up by 4, 27-23,
after 2 minutes in the 2nd, but Israel made a great 0-8 run with 6
points of Yoni Nir and 2 of Niv Berkowitz, that forced the French coach
to call for a timeout. Israel climbed to a 29-33 lead after a big dunk
by Ido Cohen, but France answered with 3 accurate shots from downtown by
Souarata Cisse and Etienne Plateau, on an 11-1 run, that put their team
up by 6 after 20 minutes, 40-34.
France climbed to a 9 point lead, 46-37 early in the 3rd, while
Israel managed to score only 3 points in first 4:30 minutes of the 2nd
half. Micheal Mokongo and Plateau on the outside and Petro on the inside
continued to run over the Israelis and slowly built an 18 point wall
between the teams, 62-44 with 1:09 to go in the 3rd. Berkowitz broke the
Israeli drought but the quarter still finished with an 18 point
France's Thibaut Blanque hit a 3 pointer in the 33rd minute to put
France above the 20 point margin, 71-50, and if Israel still had any
dreams of a comeback, it was time to wake up. France didn't allow the
big heart of Israel to pound its way back.
Jonatan Nir 19, Berkowitz 14...
Souarata Cisse 19, Petro 12+4reb, Balnque 12+7reb, Mokongo 10+4as...
Italy 75 - Greece 74 (OT) Another thriller, yet another overtime, second of the day,
first of the quarter-finals. Italy, coming from the 1st place in group A
faced the 4th from group B - Greece. A classic battle between two very
talented teams was decided after an overtime in favor of the Italian
side, that came very close to lose this survived thanks to two misses of
Greece in the last possession of regulation and the last one of the
overtime. Italy will have to face the home team of Spain, in order to
qualify to the finals of the championship. Greece will play against
Russia in the 5-8 games.
Italy took a small lead in the first quarter but only a 3
pointer with the buzzer by Tommaso Marino gave the Italians a reasonable
17-10 lead. After a long scoring drought Toutziarakis finally broke it
for Greece with 1:30 minutes into the 2nd quarter. Italy was still
dominating while Belinelli in a great play made sure Greece will stay
behind. He stole the ball, bumped into one of the refs and as a result
lost the ball back to Greek hands. He didn't give up and 5 seconds after
that made another steal, this one gave his a clear way to the basket and
he finished with a power dunk that gave his team an 11 point lead,
23-12. The margin climbed to 14 and after 5 minutes in the 2nd quarter
Greece finally scored its 4th point. That didn't make much of a
difference and Greece finished the first half down by 11, 33-22.
Three minutes into the 3rd quarter and Greece, with a couple of hits
from downtown made it a 2 point game, 36-34. Greece was unable to take
the lead, and 5 minutes after that Ntousan Sakota missed a 3 pointer
that would have given his team a 1 point lead. But just before the 3rd
buzzer it was time for Greece to complete a great 3rd quarter with a
bucket that set the score on 51-51.
Ntousan Sakota opened the 4th with a jumper to put Greece up by 2,
51-53. Italy didn't give that easily and Marco Belinelli finished a
steal with a big dunk that gave his team a 3 point lead, 60-57. The same
Belinelli hit a bomb from 3 that increased the lead by one more points,
but was answered Sakota who nailed a 3 pointer of his own and added a
great assists that laid the lead in the hands of Greece once again,
63-64 with a little over 3 minutes to go. Vasilopaulos made only one
from the line, which allowed Belinelli to dish an assist for a 65-65 tie
2 minutes to go. From that point no team was able to score. Greece had
the last chance but Sakota missed with the buzzer and the game went to
Greece opened the extra minutes with 4 points in a row, and with 2
minutes to go had a 67-71 lead, but Italy made an 8-0 run with 4 points
each by Datome and Canavesi and Greece had only 37 seconds to go back
from 75-71. Milosevic managed to add a 3 point play that narrowed the
margin to 1, and with 21 seconds Greece got the ball back for another
chance to win the game. Once again it failed. Milosevic penetrated but
the ball was deflected out and in the half a second that was left,
Greece couldn't make the change.
Matteo Canavesi 19+9reb, Sacchetti 11+4reb, Antonutti 11+5reb...
Greece: Milosevits 18, Mantzaris 15+4st, Noeas
15+12reb, Vasilopoulos 12, Sakota 11+7reb...
Turkey 76 - Serbia & Montenegro 56 Turkey became the first team from Group B to make it to the
quarter-finals. In a re-play of last year's U16 European championship,
Turkey got its revenge, and one hell of a revenge it was. From the 2nd
quarter there was only one team on court. After a thrilling game between
Greece and Italy, this one offered a 4th quarter that was mostly garbage
time. Turkey beat SRB by 20 points, 76-56 and was honored with the 3rd
ticket for the Semi-finals, where it will face a great French team. SRB
is going to face the fighters of Israel in attempt at least finish 5th.
It was SRB that took the first control of the game, and had a 2-8
lead early in the game. It took several minutes of Turkey to get into
the groove, and a 5-0 finish for the quarter sent the team for the first
rest tied at 18-18.
After a big fight in the first quarter Turkey was ready to step up
and rule the match. A big three pointer by Akyol made it a 30-22 game in
favor of the Turks. SRB came back with 4 points in a row, but once again
the final touch was made by Turkey. Another 5-0 run before the buzzer
set the half time score on 35-26, and gave the first signal of what is
about to come in the 2nd half.
Hakan Demirel of Turkey opened the second half with a great bucket
and after Kaya added a big three pointer SRB found itself down by 14,
52-38. SRB managed to cut it down to only 8 by the end of the 3rd
quarter, 52-44, but the Turkish juniors were the kings of the paint, and
didn't allow SRB any 2nd chances.
2 minutes into the last quarter and Aleksandrov decided to make it
more interesting by cutting the margin to only 6, 53-47. But from that
moment on there was only one team on court. Turkey with another 5-0 run,
and another 3 pointer by Kaya, opened another double-digit lead, 58-47,
and maintained it until the closing minutes of the game. The Serbian
players raised their hands, but Turkey was far from done. Only a
three-pointer by Tripkovic, who had a very bad game, in the final second
made it “only” a 20 point game win for Turkey.
Serbia:Aleksandrov 16+9reb, Labovic
Oguz Savas 19+6reb, Akyol 17+7reb, Kaya 16, Demirel 12+6as, Erden
Spain 101 - Russia 81 An MVP show of Sergio Rodriguez launched Spain to the
Semi-finals on Russia's account. The hosting team will have to leap over
Italy in order to perform in front of its fans in the finals game on
Sunday night. Russia will play for the 5-8 games against Greece. Russia
showed up for the game without its head-coach that had to stay at the
hotel for health reasons, while Spain looked healthier than ever. Sergio
Rodriguez had 29 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists in one of the best
performances, if not the best, of a single player in this championship. Antelo added 30 points and 6 rebounds. Spain easily dominated the boards
and took 23 rebounds more than Russia (55-32) - in case one needed
another example for way Spain won by 20 points.
Another unbelievable assist by Sergio Rodriguez lifted Spain for an
early 10-5 lead. Russia did what it does best - run, and Kourbanov with
another great dunk made it a 14-14 tie with 1:30 minutes to play in the
first quarter. Antelo, who had a terrific first half with 17 points,
made sure Spain will finish the first 10 minutes leading by 1 point,
A series of missed close shots in the paint by Spain opened the 2nd
quarter, but once again Antelo was there to set the score on 29-23 after
15 minutes. Rodriguez added 2 more from the line to finalize the run and
give an 11 point lead for his team, 35-24. It was the same Rodriguez
that hit a three pointer and started one last run before the end of the
second quarter, as Spain took a 49-34 lead after one half.
It took Spain 3 minutes to register its first 2nd half points, and
until then Russia already scored 5 in a row. Shabalkin opened with a 3
pointer and Russia made it's way back to the game. Or so it seemed. Not
for Sergio Rodriguez. With 2 more dazzling assists he pushed Spain for a
12-0 run and a 20 point lead, 64-44, with 3 minutes to play in the 3rd.
Rodriguez continued with its stunning show and Spain stepped into the
3rd quarter with a 19 point lead, 69-50.
Down by 17, 76-59, Russia made its last effort for a comeback. The
Russian coach called for a timeout and sent his soldiers to fight for
survival. Zavoruev with a 4 point play brought his team to 78-65, then
added another 3 pointer, to make it a 10 point game, but after Kourbanov
fouled out Spain took off with an 8-1 run, and sealed the deal.
Jose Angel Antelo 30+6reb, Rodriguez 29+9reb, Suarez 15+12reb,
Russia: Zavoruev 24, Zibirov 15+8st, Shabalkin 14...
9-12 games Lithuania 96 - Georgia 61 The first match of the 9-12 games had only one team on the
court. Lithuanian national teams are used to play for the top 8, but
despite the obvious disappointment, they gave a good hustle against
Georgia, and despite the game was decided early in the 2nd half, they
didn't stop for one second, and continued to take everything out on
Georgia. Lithuania had a 49-32 lead already after one half, and in the
32nd minute crossed the 30 point difference line, taking a 79-48 lead
with Paulius Abramavicius dominating the boards and not allowing Georgia
to get any closer. Martynas Andriuskevicius had another impressive
double-double of 17 points and 15 rebounds while Martynas Pocius nailed
20 of them.
Manuhar Markoishvili 20+6reb, Sanikidze 18+11reb, Tsintsadze
Martynas Pocius 20, Andriuskevicius 17+15reb, Simonavicius 13,
Viskontas 13, Abramavicius 10+8reb...
Bulgaria 105 - Latvia 96 (OT) Yet another overtime in the championship. Bulgaria had to use
the extra 5 minutes to send Latvia for the 11-12 games, and face
Lithuania in attempt to capture the 9th. Slaveykov nailed 17 out of his
28 points for Bulgaria in the first half, but Latvia, after trailing by
10 at the end of the 1st quarter, 30-20, dominated the boards, and
Oskars Stupovic hit from outside the give Latvia a 3 point lead, 46-49,
at half time. Neither of the teams made a big run in the 2nd half, and
once again we had a thrilling finish. With 1:15 left Latvia took an
84-86 lead, but Bulgaria tied the game. Reinis Strupovics nailed a big 3
pointer for Latvia with 35 second on the clock, but 16 ticks after that
Stanislav Slaveykov tied the game with a 3 point play, and sent the game
to overtime tied at 89-89. In overtime Bulgaria was dominating from the
first moment, and pretty soon took a 7 point lead, that was enough to
assure the win and a meeting with Lithuania for the 9th spot.
Stanislav Slaveykov 28+7reb, D.Ivanov 25+15reb, K.Ivanov 21+15reb,
Latvia: O.Strupovics 29, R.Strupovics 18, Jeromanovs
15+15reb, Cavars 14+15reb...
Perliminary Round, DAY 5
GROUP A Serbia & Montenegro - Georgia 101-64 (18-17; 43-32; 74-47) Serbia:
Nemanja Aleksandrov 14+6reb, Zivkovic 13+5reb, Tripkovic 12, Rakic
12, Dragicecic 10...
Markoishvili 16+4reb, Lezhava 14, Tsintsadze 13, Janezashvili
One more team has qualified for the quarter-finals. Serbia &
Montenegro secured its place amongst the top 8 with an easy win over
Georgia who finished the preliminary round with only one victory and
will have to fight for the 9-12 positions.
It took Serbia only one quarter to settle into a rhythm before taking
off and finishing the game with an easy 37 point advantage, 101-64.
After an 18-17 lead after 10 minutes, the Serbians climbed to a double
digit lead after one half, after a 3 pointer in the buzzer, and by the
26th minute had already passed the 20 point margin, 61-39. Viktor
Sanikidze didn't play for Georgia once again, but he would have been
unlikely to make much of a difference. Nine players from Serbia &
Montenegro scored 8 points or more, topping them all was Nemanja
Aleksandrov with 14.
France - Russia
100-106 (30-25; 52-52; 66-75; 88-88) France:
Johan Petro 18+13reb, Sene 11, Cisse 11+4as, Aka 11+4reb, Salmon
Russia:Kourbanov 26+21reb, Voronov 25+6reb,
Shabalkin 19+8reb, Zavoruev 18+5reb, Likhodey 11...
France lost its first game only yesterday and wanted to avoid going
into the quarter-finals with a 2nd. Russia had to win to secure its spot
in the quarter-finals and after 40 minutes we still didn't have a
winner. Just like in the Greece-Lithuania thriller the teams went to
overtime and had to play for 5 more minutes to decide the identity of
the winner and it was Russia, making it into the top 8 with a 106-100
The game was very offensive from the first minute, as expected from
two of the most athletic and talented teams in the championship. France
dominated the first quarter but by half time we had a tied game, 52-52.
Russia managed to take off mid-way through the 3rd quarter with Valery
Likhodey stepping up, and taking his team to a 70-59 lead, 2:30 to go in
the 3rd. Russia maintained the lead until the last two minutes, but then
France completed a 0-8 run that tied the game at 78-78.
Russia scored 4 points in a row and had a 2 possessions lead with 40
seconds to play, but Sourata Cisse nailed a 3 pointer and kept his team
alive. Dramir Zibirov and Aurelien Salmon exchanged points and with 5
seconds to go Vasily Zavoruev made it a 3 point game again. Marc-Antoine
Pellin went coast to coast and was tried to tie the game from 3, but was
fouled. Until that point Pellin had gone to the line only 2 times during
the whole tournament, but he made both. This time, with 00:00 on the
clock, the ball didn't even touch the rim, but still went in, and the
teams went for an overtime tied at 86-86.
Now it was Russia's turn to take off again and after each team scored
6 points, Russia made an 8-0 run that decided the game.
Latvia - Italy 68-84 (19-17;
34-41; 44-62) Latvia:
Raimonds Elbakjans 19+5reb, Jeromanovs 14+8reb, R.Strupovics 12...
Italy: Bellineli 17, Marino 14, Cenavesi 14+6reb,
After the big win over France yesterday Italy needed one more win to
secure the first place in group A. Latvia still had a small chance to
make it the quarterfinals, and as in every game, the players gave
all their heart. But it wasn't enough. Italy took off in the 2nd quarter
and didn't leave any chance for Latvia in the 2nd half on the way to a
16 point win, 84-68.
Edgards Jeromanovs finished the first quarter with a big shot from
half court to put his team on top, 17-19, but in the 2nd quarter it took
much more than that to stop Italy, as Marco Belinelli made one shot
after the other to lead his team to a 41-34 lead at half time. Italy's
defense grouped together to make sure no more surprises would happen
tonight and in this game there was no chance for overtime. Michele Antonutti and Tomasso Marino put their points on the board and soon
Italy had a 20 point lead early in the 4th, on the way to an easy win
and a first place at the end of the preliminary round.
No more unbeaten
One more day to go in the Preliminary round of the U18 European
championship and there are no more unbeaten teams. In Group A Italy
became the first team to beat Spain , and made it quiet easily. Russia
made a big run in the 2nd half to easily beat Georgia while SRB had to
sweat a little to get over Latvia. In group B Lithuania complicated the
situation in group B coming back from behind to beat Turkey by 6 points
on the first match of the day. Later on in B Israel shocked Greece with
another 6 point win and last came Bulgaria and to amaze Spain with a one
point win after a last second 3 pointer by Kaloyan Ivanov.
France and Italy are already in the quarter-finals in Group A. Italy
will have to beat Latvia to secure the first place, while France will
have to beat Russia and hope for a Latvian win in order to finish 1st.
In group B only Spain is in the quarter-finals, and tomorrow it will
face Turkey that could capture the first place. The winner between
Israel and Bulgaria will qualify for sure for the quarter-finals, while
the rest will have to wait for tie-breakers.
Lithuania 72 - Turkey 66 Turkey started the 4th day
in attempt to secure the spot in the quarter-finals with a win, while
Lithuania wanted to avoid a 3rd loss that will move them closer to the
9-12 games. Once again the hurt beast had the upper hand. Turkey had the
lead for the majority of the game but Lithuania gave a great push in the
last 5 minutes and won the game 72-66. The first half was a close run as
no team managed to take a decisive lead, and the first half buzzer
stopped the game at 34-36 for the Turkish team. Turkey put some pressure
toward the end of the 3rd and Akyol led his team to a 40-51 lead, but a
Lithuanian 3 pointer with the buzzer made it an 8 point game after 3
quarters. Lithuania opened the last quarter with a 5-0 run and at the
35th minute took a 59-58 lead. With a little over a minute to go Polat
Kaya of Turkey nailed a 3 pointer than made gave his team a 62-63 lead,
and Erhan Yetim doubled the lead with 1 point from the line, but
Martynas Pocius with a big bomb from downtown gave Lithuania the lead
back, 65-64 and Mantas Kalnietis in penetration made it a 3 point game.
Hakan Demirel of Turkey cut it back to 1 but his team was already out of
focus. Kalnietis scored only his first foul shot but the the ball stayed
in Lithuanian hands and Andrius Aleksandrovas, who had a great game with
23 points and 8 boards, secured the win with another two points.
Russia 94 - Georgia 65 A battle between two teams
that were looking for a 2nd win was even for one half, but once Russia
got into the groove, there was not much Georgia could do, and after 4
quarters there was a difference of 29 points in favor of Russia, 94-65.
George Tsintsadze of Georgia led his team with some individual moves to
an 10-18 lead after 6.5 minutes. Georgia managed to keep a steady lead
until Nikita Kourbanov, who had a great first half with 15 points and 9
rebounds, finished a fast break with a dunk and forced Georgia to call
for a timeout down by 3, 31-28 with 3.5 minutes to go in the 2nd. That
stopped the Russian run but didn't change the identity of the leader,
and after one half Russia was up by 3, 37-34. Russia continued to run in
the 2nd half and toward the end of the 3rd took a 59-44 lead, and from
there Georgia just raised the hands. Russia scored 57 points in the 2nd
half, only 8 less than what Georgia scored in 40 minutes, and won by 29
Israel 88 - Greece 82 If anyone dared to
underestimate Israel until today and think the win over Turkey in the
first day was a coincidence, here's a surprise. Another great fight and
big effort in defense marched Israel for an 88-82 over Greece that gave
the blue/white team a chance to make it to the quarter-finals with a win
tomorrow over Bulgaria, and maybe even less. Greece had the lead for the
majority of the 1st half but a 6-1 run put Israel on top 42-39. Israel
doubled the lead in the first minutes of the 3rd quarter but Greece with
a 0-8 run took over the game for a short while and after the Israeli
point-guard Yogev Ohayon got injured and had to leave the court it
seemed lost for the Israeli team, but a huge finish of the quarter gave
the team a 12 point lead over Greece, 67-55. The Greeks were unable to
recover from the Israeli blast. Ntousan Sakota was stopped by the short
but stubborn Israeli defenders as Niv Berkowitz, son of Miki, scored 27
points in 66% from the field in only 26.5 minutes, and Yoni Nir added 24
Serbia & Montenegro 81 - Latvia
70 Serbia & Montenegro lost the
previous game by one point while Latvia lost its last game by 2 points.
None of them could afford another loss, even by the minimum margin.
Serbia & Montenegro took off toward the end of the 2nd quarter and never
looked back on the way to an 81-70 win. SRB tried to make a run in the
first quarter but Oskars Strupovics nailed 3 bombs from the arc and made
sure the dominance of Nemanja Aleksandrov in the paint won't keep Latvia
out of the game. Serbian guard Uros Tripkovic pushed the gas paddle and
finished the first half with 15 points as his team took off to a 44-35
lead after 2 quarters. The 2nd half didn't bring any news. SRB continued
to lead by 8-12 points, Latvia was unable to make a real comeback but on
the other hand didn't fall apart. Aleksandrov finished with an
impressive double-double of 19 points and 15 rebounds and Oskars
Strupovics had 18 points, all of them from 3 point, for Latvia.
Italy 83 - France 69 At the end of the 2nd day
both of Italy and France were perfect, but after day three France had
one more win, and the knowledge a win over Italy is worth a secured 1st
place. Italy came with the knowledge that a win over France will put
them one win short of a first place. From the first quarter it was
obvious which team is superior, and a 14 points win for Italy, 83-69,
declared that there are no more perfect teams in Group A. Italy had a
much better first quarter. Marco Belinelli and Luca Vitali hit from
outside and led their team to a 25-18 lead after one quarter. France on
the other hand couldn't connect from outside, and had to go inside to
Johan Petro, but the dominating center wasn't at his best and France
went to the locker rooms down by 5, 42-37. Italy played a great team
play on both ends and itched the double-margin line but a three-point
shot by Aldo Curti of France made it a 6 point game after 3 quarters,
60-54. France went to the paint in search of Petr, who made 11 points
and 7 rebounds in the 2nd half but that was enough only to bring his
team as close as minus two, 71-69, with a little over 2:30 minutes to
play. New game? Not for Belinelli. The Italian scorer, who made 22
points and 8 boards tonight, showed he can score and pass and pushed his
team to a 12-0 run until the final buzzer.
Bulgaria 75 - Spain 74 Spain wanted to secure the
first spot in the group already tonight, and a win over Bulgaria would
have got them there. Bulgaria came to the game hoping to become the
first team to break Spain's perfect record, and increase their
quarter-finals chances. Bulgaria surprised with a very tough match up
and finished with an amazing 3 point buzzer-beater to beat Spain for the
first time in the tournament, 75-74. Spain took off in the first quarter
thanks to a perfect half by Carlo Suarez that nailed 17 points including
3 hits from downtown in 100% from the field, and another amazing
performance by Sergio Rodriguez, that passed 7 assists already after one
half. But that was enough only for 1.5 quarters. Bulgaria had Stanislav
Slaveykov in the first quarter the Ivanov twins in the 2nd to take the
lead with 4 minutes to go in the 2nd quarter and finish up by 3 after
one half, 38-41. Bulgaria stayed on top during most of the 3rd until a
buzzerbeater shot by Suarez gave Spain a 58-59 lead after 3 quarters.
Bulgaria took the lead back into its hands and with less than 3 minutes
to go was up by 4, 72-68. Spain made a 0-6 run that ended with a
penetration by Albert Teruel less than a minute to go, and put Spain on
top 72-74. Spain got the ball back but Sergio Rodriguez, that had 20
points, 12 assists and 6 rebounds, missed a 3 point shot and the last
possession was in Bulgaria's hands. Kaloyan Ivanov received the ball on
the 3 point line, made a fake, and released the ball with one second on
the clock. The buzzer went off while the ball was still in mid-air but
it never touched the rim. A perfect swish with 00:00 on the clock left
the Spaniards shocked, while Bulgaria still celebrated minutes after the
game was over.
And then they all had wins
After 3 days each and every team in the games tasted at least once the
sweetness of victory. Today the last three teams joined the club, one
after the other. Russia was the first with an impressive win over Italy
who held a perfect record until today. Then came Georgia was a 2 point
win over Estonia and last came Lithuania with a 7 point win over the
fighters from Israel. The 2nd part of the day displayed two super games.
After Turkey got their 2nd win in a row, this time over Bulgaria, it was
time for the big show. France beat SRB by one point in a great game, and
Spain kept a perfect record of its own with a win over Greece.
Russia 95 - Italy 80 The first game of the 3rd
day confronted two teams with flawless records. Italy held a 2 wins 0
losses record, while Russia the exact opposite. For Russia it was a win
or (almost) die situation and it showed. Both teams were equal for 3.5
quarters until the team that had to win gave one last push and won
95-80. Marco Belinelli was just in one of those days where nothing was
going well for him and he finished with “only” 19 points in 7/20 from
the field. It was a tough game. Russia had a 53-52 lead after 2 quarters
and had to wait 15 more minutes before making the deciding run. A great
defense in the last quarter left the Italians behind, and Nikita
Shabalkin was dominating the paint with 21 points and 14 rebounds, while
Nikita Kourbanov had a double-double of 29 points and 11 rebounds,
including a big dunk with 2 minutes to play that set the score on 90-78
and closed the gate for the Italians.
Georgia 77 - Latvia 75 Georgia showed a big
improvement in the 2nd day but still didn't gain its first win in the
championship. Today against Latvia it was probably their last chance to
make it to the quarterfinals. With Viktor Sanikedze back in the line up
Georgia stormed the court and after 6 minutes took a 19-7 lead. Both
teams are usually very fond about shooting from behind the 3 point arc
and today was no exception. Latvia made its way back to the game in the
2nd quarter and after 16 minutes we had a 27-27 tie as Latvia sank one
after another 3 point shot, the one to tie it scored by Reinis
Strupovics. The first half finished with Georgia up by 1, 37-36, and
once they warmed up their hand, it was impossible for Latvia to stop
them. Georgia took a 63-53 lead toward the end of the 3rd quarter and
only a 3 point shot by the great Edgars Jeromanovs made it a 7 point
game after 3 quarters, 63-56. Georgia maintained the lead throughout the
4th quarter and with 1:24 to go held a 75-69 lead. Jeromanovs of Latvia
scored 2 from the line and with 49 seconds to go added a lay up that
reduced the gap to only 2, 75-73. Latvia had a chance to tie the game,
but missed the crucial shot and with 14 seconds to go George Tsintsadze
hit 2 from the line and sealed the first win of Georgia in the games.
Lithuania 94 - Israel 87 After Russia and Georgia got
their first win earlier today, Lithuania was left the last team without
a win. Its opponent was Israel, that spent a lot of energy in the close
loss against Spain late last night. After a long battle Lithuania made
it clear that there are no more Lithuania seemed more fresh in the first
minutes and took a 16-3 lead very early in the game. Israel recovered
during the 2nd quarter slowly, and one last push right before the half
time buzzer set the score on only 40-38 for Lithuania. The 2nd half
didn't have any news for the spectators. Lithuania opened a double digit
gap one time after another, but again and again Israel made a comeback.
There was one thing missing - taking the lead into its hands. Israel
came very close many times, and was only one basket away from tying the
game for several occasions, but failed to make the extra play that will
change the identity of the leader for the first time in the game. Martynas Adriuskevicius finished with the first triple double of the
games. He had 19 points, 15 rebounds and blocked 10 shots.
Turkey 83 - Bulgaria 74 With one win for each team
this one was all about the future. With no “Group favorites” signs
around their necks, both teams wanted to win this one badly, and the
term “tiebreakers” was glowing in the background. After 40 minutes it
was Turkey who enjoyed the win, 83-74, and climed to a 2-1 record.
Turkey took complete domination on the game very early, and after 4
minutes had a 13-2 lead. Deyan Ivanov of Bulgaria was the only guy in
Bulgaria that had a decent first half and he helped his team to finish
the first 20 minutes down by only 15, 54-39, after Turkey already led by
more than 20. Bulgaria opened the 3rd quarter with a 0-6 run and all of
a sudden it was only a 9 point game, but Turkey's defense switched on,
and forced a slow game as both teams combined a total of 22 points in a
weak 3rd quarter, that finished with the Turks up by 11, 63-52. Dayen
Ivanov made one last attempt and reduced the gap to only 7, 68-61, with
6:46 to go, but Cenk Akyol, the best scorer of the Turkish team today
(23 points in 8/12 from the field), hit a 3 point shot with a little
less than 3 minutes to go to make it a 12 points game, 76-64, and after
a 0-6 run by Bulgaria, sank two more free throws with 1:30 on the clock,
that secured the win for Turkey.
France 72 - Serbia & Montenegro
71 Two of the top teams in the
games went head-to-head. France with the speedy and flashing Michael
Mokongo and SRB with Nemanja Aleksandrov in a good first half, were
fighting for every ball and position. France wanted to stay perefect
after 3 games, while SRB didn't want to enter the rest day with 2
losses. It turned out to be the thriller of the 3rd day, and it was
decided only by one point in favor of France, 72-71, after a 10-2 run in
the last 3 minutes. The teams were even during most of the first quarter
that finished with the Serbian team up by 1, 22-23. France improved its
defense in the 2nd quarter, kept SRB on only 4 points in the first 8
minutes, and took off with a big steal and dunk by Johan Petro and some
hits from downtown that opened a 38-27 lead on the way to 41-32 at half
time. It took SRB some time but as Dragan Labovic was taking control
over the paint and gaining 21 of his points already after 3 quarters, it
meant France was in problem, and after 3 quarters we had a 4 point game
only, 55-51. SRB didn't stop there and continued to push for the win. Uros Tripkovic with a couple of three pointers put SRB on top and with
3:10 to go France was down by 7, 62-69. Johan Petro with 5 points in a
row in crunch time, 2 of them after the ball jumped on the rim no less
than 4 times, made it a one point game, 70-71 a little over 30 seconds
to go. SRB tried to maintain the lead but lost the ball and with 9
seconds to play Aldo Curti stole the ball and stormed coast to coast for
an easy lay up, 72-71. SRB had one last chance, but a great defense by
France didn't allow SRB to inbound and deflected the ball out 3 times in
a row. There were still 1.5 more seconds on the clock but the pass to Dragan Labovic, that added only 2 points in the last quarter, was too
high and France stayed perfect.
Spain 85 - Greece 71 Another battle of giants
finished with a team that keeps a perfect record and a team that didn't
dream to be 1-2 after 3 days. A huge 2nd half by Sergio Rodriguez with a
big 2nd half downed Greece to an 85-71 win. Spain remains perfect and is
the only team of Group B that didn't lose yet. The first two quarters
weren't decisive. Spain had the upper hand in the first quarter but
Greece, headed by Ntousan Sakota, with a set three point shots deep in
the second stayed in the game, and didn't allow Spain to go to the half
time rest with an advantage, 39-39 after 2 quarters. Sergio Rodriguez
took over the game in the 2nd half. Each assist and penetration were
answered with a big road from the fans that pushed the home team to a 7
point lead after 3 quarters, 59-52. Spain opened the last quarter with 3
points and crossed the double-digit margin line. Greece didn't have
anything to reply with other than Sakota and Igor Milosevic, and the
locals joyfully skipped for their 3rd win.
West 2-0, East 0-2
The 2nd day of the Junior European Championship had 3 very intense games
for us. Spain had to sweat for 40 minutes against a stubborn Israeli
team, Serbia & Montenegro fought till the last minute with Russia before
it registered win number one and Bulgaria won its first Junior European
Championship game since 1998. France, Italy and Spain are still perfect
at the end of the 2nd day while Russia, Georgia and Lithuania are still
looking for their first win.
France 72 - Latvia 61 The first game in day 2 was
between the team that won in the biggest margin on the first day,
France, and the team that won by the smallest margin, Latvia. Led by
guard Michael Mokongo (14 points) in the first half and forward Aurelien
Salmon (15 points) in the second, France dominated the game throughout
the entire 40 minutes, won 72-61, and stays perfect after the 2nd day of
the games. France took a double-digit lead already in the first quarter,
and finished the first 10 minutes up by 10, 25-15. The Latvia guard
Edgars Jeromanovs wasn't at his best scoring day but still managed to
lead his team back in the game dishing assists and grabbing the boards.
Only France didn't allow anything more than that. Whenever Latvia came
close, the French squad managed to open a small margin and for almost 30
minutes France led between 4-12. Latvia, that shot in 59% from 3 in the
first game, missed some crucial 3 pointers today (only 32% from 3) that
could have make the difference, and finished the game down by 11, 72-61.
The French Point Guard Marc-Antoine Pellin was injured during the game,
and didn't come back to play, but is expected to be back on his feet
Italy 90 - Georgia 83 Italy seemed like one of the
best teams here in the first day, while Georgia lost by 43 points to
France. Add to that the absence of the injured Georgian forward Viktor
Sanikidze, who's expected to be back in shape tomorrow, and here's a
perfect recipe for an easy Italian win. In the first minutes of the game
it sure looked like Georgia is “El dante”, but the Georgian chef had a
different idea. Gerogia gave a great fight for Italy and lost only by 7
points, 90-83. Italy dominated the first minutes of the game and climbed
to an easy 11-3 lead, that increased even more after several minutes.
George Tsintsadze, the Georgian point guard, was the main target of his
team and with a great performance (20 points and 8 assists) he led his
team back in the game. Nodar Bekauri drowned 5 triples and Iraki
Sakvarelidze helped with 16 points and 7 rebounds, as 5 Georgians scored
in double-digits, but that still wasn't enough. Pretty much like in the
first game of the day, Italy held the lead for the entire game, didn't
allow Georgia to put it in danger, while on the other end wasn't able to
make a run and decide the game for good. Italy took a relaxing
72-58 lead after 3 quarter and all Georgia was able to do was to cut
margin to 7 at the end of the game.
Serbia & Montenegro 90 - Russia
84 Two of the teams that were
surprised in the first day, Serbia & Montenegro by Italy and Russia by
Latvia, met in a crucial game as none of them wanted to have two losses
after two days with only 3 games left on the line. Since only one team
can win it was impossible for both of them to avoid it, and the result
was a big fight between two very talented teams that ended with a
Serbian 90-84 win. Russia dominated the first quarter but didn't go too
far ahead and after 10 minutes had a 20-22 lead. The Russian dominance
in the game went on in the 2nd quarter, and only a great three pointer
by Tadija Dragicevic in the last second made it a 4 point game at half
time, 45-49 for Russia. Serbia & Montenegro didn't give up and once Nemanja Aleksandrov joined Dragicevic they were able to take ownership
on the lead. Aleksandrov made it 61-60 after 26 minutes with a 3 point
play, and Dragicevic laid a bomb from downtown to mark a 70-64 Serbian
lead close to the end of the 3rd. Russia didn't give up and managed to
take the lead once again, 74-75 this time going into the final minutes.
The teams entered the last 2 minutes of the game with Serbia &
Montenegro up by 2, 83-81, only there was just one team functioning
until the end. Serbia & Montenegro made a 5-0 run that decided the game,
Nikita Kourbanov sank a long distance 3 pointer for Russia that didn't
make a lot of difference, and Dragicevic dunked the last 2 points of the
game to seal the Serbian win.
Bulgaria 93 - Lithuania 88 Another pair of teams that
were looking for their first win in the championship met today. Bulgaria
played first yesterday and had a lot of time to rest, while Lithuania
played last and had the least time to rest. It showed. Down the
stretch Bulgaria celebrated a close 93-88 win but in the first 15
minutes there was only one team on the floor. After 2:30 minutes
Bulgaria was up by 10, 12-2, and as the time passed by the gap got
bigger and bigger. After one quarter Lithuania trailed by 13, 29-16, and
soon found itself down by almost 20 points. The Ivanov twins of Bulgaria
stormed the court in those minutes and had full control of the game. But
Lithuania didn't break that easily, and by half time suddenly we had a
new game with a 41-39 Bulgarian lead. The fast breaks of Lithuania were
deadly and deep into the 3rd quarter Bulgaria trailed 54-61. Then came
an impressive 8-0 run by Bulgaria that put them back on top, 62-61 after
3 quarters. Martynas Andriuskivicius finished with a blasting
double-double of 26 points and 17 rebounds and his teammates tried to
pass him ball high above the heads of the Bulgarian defense, but when
that didn't work they started a 3 point shot-out. Some of these shots
didn't even touch the rim and forward Deyan Ivanov of Bulgaria took
control of the game. He was everywhere on court. Scoring points,
cleaning the boards and feeding his friends with great assists, and with
a little over a minute to go it seemed like a done deal - an 11 point
lead for Bulgaria, 85-74. Lithuania kept shooting for 3 and this time
the balls went in. 3 times in a row in fact, and suddenly it was an open
game, 87-85 for Bulgaria, with 30 seconds to go. Kaloyan Ivanov didn't
miss his shots from the line, Lithuania cut it down to 2 once again and
then it was time for Stanislav Slaveykov, the MVP of Bulgaria in this
game with 28 points, 11 boards and 5 assists, to hit twice from the
line, 91-87 with 9 seconds to go. Lithuania went for one last hope, but
when Paulius Abramavicius was fouled and missed the first shot from the
line with a little over a second to go, the game was decided.
Turkey 73 - Greece 57 After the surprising defeat
against Israel in the first day Turkey came ready to fight for its life
and pride. The opponent was a classic one - Greece. A very bad night for
the Greek stars - Igor Milosevic and Ntousan Sakota that scored together
only 14 points, left the stage for the Turkish team to celebrate a 73-57
win thanks to a big performance by center Emre Bayev who made 21 points.
Turkey was dominating already after one quarter, 16-22, but it took one
more quarter until it was clear who's going to win this game. Turkey
finished the first half up by 4, 34-30, but with big power in the paint
managed to take off in the 3rd quarter and go into the last 10 minutes
with a 57:45 lead. Greece made too many turnovers and missed too many
easy shots to make a comeback from there. Turkey secured the win early
in the 4th and got their first win of the championship.
Spain 89 - Israel 83 The hosting team faced one
of the toughest opponents in the competition. Israel is a pitbull that
doesn't let go for one second, and play tough defense for 40 minutes.
This game set a perfect example. Sergio Rodriguez, one of the top stars
of the first day, had to work twice as hard for every assist and point,
but down the stretch it was Spain who smiled after 40 minutes of sweat
with an 89-83 win. Israel started well and went for point-guard Yogve
Ohayon, who had a huge game and was only 3 rebounds short of a huge
triple-double (19 points, 10 assists, 7 rebounds), led the Israeli team
to an early 12-19 lead, but Spain closed the gap to only 4 after 10
minutes of game, 19-23. Spain took its first lead of the game early in
the 2nd quarter but one more effort by the Israeli team sent the teams
to the locker room with a 40-40 tie. Midway through the 3rd and Spain
took off to a 64-55 lead but Israel once again fought back and narrowed
the gap to 3, but a three-pointer in the last second of the quarter put
Spain up by 6 after 30 minutes of play, 71-65. the local team maintained
the lead for the rest of the game, but Israel gave its one last push and
with 1:40 left to play the scoreboard displayed 82:80 for the Spanish
side. Sergio Rodriguez was cool from the line and made sure Spain will
keep a perfect record at the end of the 2nd day.
3 upsets and one Sergio
The first day of the 2004 Junior European Champions was a very thrilling
one. Half of the games were won by the underdog team, one of them by 1
point due to an incredible 3 point shot in the last seconds of the game,
Greece had to put a lot of effort to beat Bulgaria in the first game,
Spain, the home team, easily won the last game and in between France
enjoyed the only "walk in the park" of the day against Georgia.
Marco Belinelli of Italy with 31 points, Edgards Jeromanovs of Latvia
with 22 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists, Igor Milosevic of Greece with
24 points and 9 assists and Sergio Rodriguez of Spain, a Mini
Saras, with 23 points and 10 assists were the best players of the first
Greece 79 - Bulgaria 69
The Greek Junior NT had the pleasure to win the first game of the 2004
Junior European Championship, but it wasn't an easy one. Bulgaria gave a
big fight for 3.5 quarters but couldn't survive against the dominance of
Igor Milosevic and Ntousan Sakota led Greece to a 79-69 win. The first
quarter was even and ended with an 18-18 tie, and until the end of the
first half Greece took a 4 point lead, 38-42. The Ivanov twins, Deian
and Kaloyan, that scored 14 of the 18 points of their team in the first
quarter, were too much for the Greek front court and with constant
contribution in the paint led Bulgaria to a solid 14 points during the
3rd. But Greece didn't allow more than that. 10 points of the gap were
lost until the end of the 3rd, 61-57, and in the last quarter Sakota
bombed from behind the arc and Milosevic added 9 assists to his 24
points to help Greece win 8-22 in the last quarter and complete its
first win 79-69.
Israel 69 - Turkey 58
The first big upsets of the day came already in the 2nd game of the
tournament. Israel shocked the favorite Turkey with a stunning 69-58
win. Turkey, that arrived to the championship with their prime prospect
- Ersan Ilyosava, couldn't match the big heart and fight of the Israeli
team. Only 6 players scored for the Israeli squad but 5 of them were in
double-digits. A slow paced first half ended with a 26-21 lead for the
Israeli side. PG Yogev Ohayon with 14 points and PF/C Yoni Nir with an
impressive double-double of 13 points and 16 rebounds pushed Israel to a
big run in the 3rd quarter and the lead increased to 10, but Turkey made
a quick comeback, narrowed the gap to 3, and soon gained a small lead.
The Israeli boys showed it takes more than that to break them and in the
last quarter decided the game, on the way to a 69-58 win. The much
shorter Israel managed to win the battle under the boards with a 43-42
advantage in the rebounds, and stopped the talented Turkish big man Emre
Bayev and the guard Cenk Akyol.
Italy 101 - Serbia & Montenegro
Serbia & Montenegro was the favorite to win this one, but the Italians
showed they have serious plans to go far in this competition. Basketball
is officially divided by 4 quarters, but this one was really divided to
3 periods. Italy shocked Serbia & Montenegro with a blasting performance
in the first 14 minutes. A 31-17 lead after one quarter increased to an
amazing 45-22 4 minutes into the 2nd quarter with the credits to Marco
Belinelli, the amazing scorer of Italy, who nailed 17 points in the
first quarter with 5/6 from 3 point land. The second period was between
the 14th minute and the 26th. Serbia & Montenegro woke up before it was
too late, finished the first half down by only 9, 52-43 and 6 minutes
into the 3rd completed the comeback as it took a 59-60 lead. A total run
of 14-38 in 12 minutes. But from that moment on there was again only one
team on court. Italy showed it has a lot of character to recover from
the Serbian comeback. With a 14-5 run in the following 3 minutes that
continued in the 4th quarter they decided the game and registered one a
very big upset. Serbia & Montenegro made a last effort and cut the
margin down to 8, 96-88, with almost a minute to play, but Marco
Belinelli with his 7th 3 pointer, this one an amazing one 2 steps behind
the arc with 1 second on the 24 shot clock, made sure no-one will have a
doubt about the identity of the winner. Italy was the first team to
cross the 100 barrier with a great start.
France 107 - Georgia 64
The first one-sided game was easily dominated by the French group that
had a walk in the park in the first day. From the very first moment it
was clear who has the upper hand in this match up. Johan Petro, the
French giant, was king of his majesty in the paint, and didn't allow the
Georgians to be involved in the game. France finished the first quarter
leading 33-16 and easily climbed to a deciding 54-27 at half time with
the French forward Aurelien Salmon hitting 18 points in 7/8 from the
field out of 24 in the game. Georgia did get a decent contribution from
its biggest star - Manuchar Markoishvili, but never stood a chance.
There was no change in the 2nd half as France slowly but firmly opened a
bigger margin. 107-64 was the final score.
Latvia 95 - Russia 94
It was probably the best game of the first day. Tensed and close from
the very first minute until the very last one. One that was decided in
the classic way - a 3 point shot in the last seconds that was worth a 1
point win. It was Latvia that celebrated and danced in mid-court after
40 minutes of great offensive basketball. No team was able to produce a
decisive run during the game. The lead changed hands every few minutes
and both teams fought for every ball. Russia was dominating un der the
boards, Latvia was hitting one three-point after another, and it all
came down to the last minute. Russia took a 91-94 lead with 30 seconds
to go after a dunk by Nikita Shabalkin that was the key players of
Russia with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Edgards Jeromanovs of Latvia was
sent to the line and made only the first but Latvia managed to draw a
jumpball after the rebound and got the ball. Edgards Jeromanovs with the
best performance of the first day (22 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists) and
Reinis Strupovics with 24 points and 5/5 from 3 point land were the
stars in Latvia, but the one to win the match was 1987 born Oskars
Strupovics, brother of Reinis, with a big 3 point shot. Russia still had
a few seconds left, but didn't manage to change the lead one more time.
Spain 101 - Lithuania 82
The hosting team opened the games in the best way possible - An
impressive win over a worthy opponent such as the Lithuanian team. It
took Spain a little over a quarter to overcome the excitement. The
Lithuanian guard Mantas Kalnietis bombed from downtown and sent his team
a 10-22 lead after 1 quarter. But that was about all for the Lithuanian
Juniors. Spain stormed the court in the 2nd quarter led by a magnificent
performance by a Mini-Saras, Sergio Rodriguez, that earned loud
applauses for his passes and scored 17 points already in the first half,
as Spain took a 46-41 lead at half time. The local team continued to
dominance the game on both ends, had almost total control in the
rebounds for several minutes and didn't allow Lithuania to make a
comeback. Jose Angel Antelo and Ivan Garcia joined Rodriguez and led
Spain for a big 101-82 win.
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