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Greece beat Spain in the final (Photo:

The tournament started (Photo: Youthbasket)
  Greece win the Gold! - Aug 4, 2002 - by Yarone Arbel
Final: Greece 77 - Spain 73
The Greek Jr NT went home less than a month ago with a feel that they were robbed in the SF, and missed a chance to win the gold medal. The Young Men team fixed the bad feel of the Greece and won the Gold Medal in the 2002 European Championship. The Greek NT won the Bronze in the 2000 Juniors EC, so it wasn't a big surprise to see them in the finals, but Spain on the other hand, didn't have big expectations in this championship. The Spanish team, who grabbed the 11th spot in the 2000 Juniors EC, and missed one of their best players, Real Madrid's injured center Hernandez-Sonseca during the entire championship, made it to the finals after a huge surprising win over Yugoslavia in the last second of the QF and another thriller vs.. Russia in the Semis. Spain had a strong start with a 2-7 lead after 3 minutes. Greece woke up in time and Zisis's 3 point shot gave them a 21-15 lead right before the end of the 1st Q. Greece kept a small lead during most of the 2nd Q. Tapoutos made it a 9 pts lead before half time, but Spain struggled back in the game and after 20 minutes the score was 45-39 to Greece. The 3rd Quarter was no different than the end of the 2nd. Spain slowly moved closer and closer to Greece. Roberto Guerra was the one to take the lead from the Greeks, 52-53, with 2 minutes to go in the 3rd Q. and Spain managed to keep it till the buzzer. A huge basket from beyond the arc by Andres Miso (195-G-83, college: Colegio Ecole) gave Spain a 62-68 lead and forced Greece to take a Timeout. Christos Tapoutos (206-F/G-82, agent: Tountouris Pashalis) and Nikos Zisis (195-G-83) scored 2 straight 3 pointers to tie the game and now it was Spain's turn to Timeout the game with 4 minutes to go. Spain took the lead once again right after the Timeout, with a bucket by Albert Miralles, but that was also the last time Spain will be on top in the finals. Tsiakos tired the score, Kostas Kaimakoglou (205-C-83) nailed a 3 and again Georgios Tsiaras (207-C-82) with 2 from the line completed a 13-2 run by Greece since the Timeout in the 62-68 situation. Spain missed three 3 pts shots in a row, but in the 4th attempt the ball went in, and with 15 sec. to go, the scoreboard said: 75-73 to Greece. Spain send Vasilis Spanoulis (192-G-82) to the line, and he made both shots. 77-73. 13 sec. to go. Greece used their fouls wisely and didn't allow Spain to score another basket before the final buzzer and won the 2002 European Championship for Young Men!
Greece (21+24+9+23): Tapoutos 24 - 4/7 3FG, Spanoulis 21, Zisis 11 + 7 as, Tsiakos 10 + 11 rbs, Kaimakoglou 8 + 9 rbs, Misiakos 3
Spain (17+22+16+18): Rubio 20 + 10 rbs, Guerra 15, Miralles 10 + 13 rbs, Vazquez 8 + 7 rbs, Miso 5, Llorente 5, Martinez 4, Kortaberria 3, Grimau 2, Triguero 1

Boris Diaw

   France win the Bronze - Aug 4, 2002 - by Yarone Arbel
France 95 - Russia 78
France continued their amazing recovery from the slow start, and finished the EC in the 3rd place after a big 95-78 win over strong Russia. France made a big 12-0 run between the 7th and the 11th minutes, and another 10-1 run before the end of the 2nd Q to finish the first half with a 52-31 lead. Boris Diaw (203-F-82, agent: Neustadt Doug) led France once again to dominate under the boards with a 45-28 lead in the rebounds and a 63% 2FG. Viktor Khryapa (205-F/G-82) (7 Turnovers) and Serguei Monia weren't at their peak tonight, and so France cruised for the Bronze medal.

France (26+26+23+20): Evtimov 19, Turiaf 15, Diawara 12 + 4 as, Nijean 12, Diaw 10 + 12 rbs + 5 as, Chelle 8, Tillon 5, Yango 4, Mouillard 3, Szaszcak 3, Pietrus 2, Doreau 2
Russia (15+16+25+22): Adamu 22, Baranov 11, Zelenski 10, Monia 9, Khriapa 8 + 7 to, Gorolevski 6, Bykov 5, Karpov 3, Zozouline 2, Babourine 2

  Lithuania win the ticket to the WC - Aug 4, 2002 - by Yarone Arbel

is going
to the WC

5-6 Place:  Lithuania 78 - Slovenia 74
The battle on the last card to the World Championship was a tough one. Same as the first game between the teams, in Group A (Slovenia won 67-64). Slovenia had a good start. Erazem Lorbek (210-F/C-84) scored 2 and the scoreboard showed 4-9 to Slovenia. after 7:30 minutes Slovenia went up to 18-6, but 2 three-pointers by the Lithuanians made sure the gap won't go over 8 at the end of the first Q. Lithuania kept the momentum in the 2nd Q, and after 6 minutes completed a 14-4 run to take the lead for the first time in the game since the 1st minute. Slovenia fought back with points by Udrih and Capin and by half time the score was 34-38 to Slovenia. The first minutes of the 3rd Q were all Beno Udrih (194-G-82, agent: Balducci Maurizio). 7 straight points by the Slovenian guard brought his team to a 41-49 lead in the 26th minutes, but once again Lithuania found their way back to the game. Slovenian managed to keep a 52-58 lead after 30 minutes, but the couldn't find enough energy for the last Q. E. Lorbek dominated under the boards with 12 rbs, but surprisingly didn't have a good shooting day. He made just 2 of his 10 FG attempts, and the hosting team took advantage of that. 5 minutes to go Aurimas Kieza (203-F-82) was the one to give Lithuania the lead again, and in the next possession nail a 3 pointer that was worth a 69-65 local lead. Udrih with 2 free throws tied the score, 69-69, with a little more than 3 minutes on the clock, but that was it. Slovenia had another chance to tie the score with 11 sec. to go, and down by 2, but missed the chance, and Simas Jasaitis (199-F/G-82), who led Lithuania with 20 pts, secured the last WC ticket for the Lithuanian NT.
Lithuania (16+18+18+26): Jasaitis 20 - 5/16FG + 7 rbs, Kieza 19, Delininkaitis 17, Kuzminskas 15 + 10 rbs, Velius 3, Peciukas 2, Clukinas 2Slovenia (24+14+20+16): Udrih 23 + 6 rbs, Capin 18, Slokar 13 + 8 rbs, Vujacic 7, E. Lorbek 4 - 2/10 FG + 12 rbs, Bursic 3, Ivaskovic 2, Zagorac 2, Zupac 2

  Yugoslavia win the 7th place - Aug 4, 2002 - by Yarone Arbel


7-8 Place: Yugoslavia 105 - Croatia 89
The game on the 7th place is basically for the records. It doesn't make a big change if you take the 7th or the 8th place, but every game between Yugoslavia and Croatia is much more than another match. For 33 minutes it was a close game. Marko Popovic (185-G-82) was huge for Croatia with 21 pts and 13 as, while on the other side it was Blagota Sekulic (209-C/F-82) who came close to a triple-double with 21 pts, 12 rbs and 7 as. Neven Cuzela (190-G-83) tied the score with a 3 pointer, 68-68, with 9 minutes on the clock. But the last quarter was all Serb. Yugoslavia scored 37 pts in the last Q, and by the 36th min. they had a 9 pts lead. Denis Toroman (183-G-82) scored another 3, and reduced the gap to 8, with a little more than 2 minutes to play, but Krstic and Sekulic made sure the win will stay on the Serbian side of the game, and finished with a 105-89 win. Yugoslavia (23+20+25+37): Krstic 21 + 14 rbs, Sekulic 21 + 12 rbs + 7 as, Pavlovic 18, Koljevic 17 + 7 as, Marinovic 17, Bakic 7, Jovanovic 4
Croatia (21+26+18+24): Popovic 21 + 13 as, Loncar 18 + 7 rbs, Cuzela 11, Rozic 10, Toroman 10, Gligora 7, Omerhodzic 6, Spralja 6

   Semifinals, Aug.3, 2002:
Greece - France 79-70

R.Billant, the Head Coach of French NT: "I'm very disappointed with the loss as we lost the right to the Finals. We played good defense in the 1st half, but failed to find the right pace in offense and scored too little points. It's very difficult to say whether the reasons were physical or rather mental. The players got exhausted in the last quarter. We failed to organize our defense and couldn't deal with N.Zisis."
G.Szazscak, French NT: "We made a lot of mistakes while changing defensive systems at the end of the game. We were too tired."
N.Keramefs, the Head Coach of Greek NT: "I'm extremely glad about the victory, which led us to the finals. We played against the team we respect very much as before the Championship we lost them two friendly games. We believed that luck would be with us in the 3rd meeting. We played really good defense managing to stop the frontline players, such as M.Pietrus. I'm proud of my players."
I.Georgalis, Greek NT: "We achieved the highest goal to get to the Championship Finals. We played good defense that was the key to the victory. Our opponents scored only 70 pts. We were lucky as N.Zisis performed brilliantly. But now we should start thinking about the Final game."
Russia - Spain 81-86
V.Radionov, the Head Coach of Russian NT: "At the end of the game we lost the match we should have won. We committed numerous mistakes because we were very exhausted. The Spanish team played a very reasonable game at the end."
R.Casas, the Head Coach of Spanish NT: "This game as well as all the others was very tough and persistent. We opposed our team play against the Russians individual style of a game and we did succeed. I appreciate my players for all their efforts. Also congratulations to the Russians, they played very impressively."
J.Triguero, Spanish NT: "The game was difficult, requiring much strength. The Russian players are very strong physically, so we had to fight with all our strength. We managed to stop the Russian leaders during the last min of the game."

  5-8 Places Games:

Croatia - Slovenia 88-90

L.Milanovic, the Assistant Coach of Croatian NT: "Congratulations to Slovenian team. That was a game of good defense by both of the teams. We lost by tiny 2 points... Maybe we lacked success or just concentration. Now we'll try to do our best in the game for the 7th place, which we'll play against the loser of Lithuania  -  Yugoslavia pair."
D.Toroman, Croatian NT: "That was a difficult game. It was very hard to get ready for this match after our yesterday's loss. Although we played rather well, we lacked some luck and concentration."
T.Krump, Head of Delegation of Slovenian NT: "We had to prepare well psychologically before this game. That was quite difficult after the yesterday's loss. But we had strong motivation to show up as well as possible playing against former Yugoslavian teams. We were running behind in the first half of the game, but managed to catch up with the opponent in the second half mainly due to our good defense. We were lucky to tie the score in the last sec of the 4th period. During the rest of the game we were obviously stronger."
A.Capin, Slovenian NT: "We played a good game. The opponents fouled in their last attack and I was the lucky one to make the foul shots. I'm extremely glad about this victory."

Lithuania - Yugoslavia 72-71
J.Arsic, the Head Coach of Yugoslavian NT: "Generally speaking we should have won this game."
R.Endrijaitis, the Head Coach of Lithuanian NT: "I'm satisfied with the today's defense. P.Ciukinas made an outstanding performance, contrary to S.Kuzminskas who, mildly speaking, played poorly. I'm glad that I was able to prepare the team properly and prove that each game is a matter of honor. Yugoslavia is a very good team, but we were a bit stronger today as we made 14 steals to Yugoslavians' 7. We also won in rebounds. Our play's been improving every day. We'll do our best to fight back against the Slovenian team for the 5th place."
S.Jasaitis, Lithuanian NT: "The game was very difficult. We felt exhausted after the yesterday's match. We give credit to our coaches who managed to get us ready for this game. We played good defense and were followed by success."

  9th Place Game:
Turkey - Israel 79-73

Israeli and Turkish teams finished their performance in the 6th European Championship for Young Men. The Turkish representatives overcame Israeli 79:73 and got to the 9th position of the final standings.
The Turkish NT burst to an early lead 5:0 at the beginning of the game. The Israeli players hit two efficient far-range shots to get to 6:5. B.Guney received a technical foul to give a way to the opponents who increased the bulge to 11:5. In the center of the period E.Itzhak hit a three to get further 17:7. The Turkish players switched on zone defense though not as effectively and stayed lacking behind 23:11, 27:16.
In the 2nd quarter of the game the Israeli team increased the margin 31:16, 34:16. After 3 min played Turkey managed to get a bit closer 35:23. Making zone defense more active and hitting precisely they reduced the bulge to 37:27. Both the teams exchanged several attacks and with 30 sec left to go the Turkish team made it 34:40, thanks to a precise far-range shot.
After the half time break E.Yoldas hit a three to bring his team close 41:43 and I.Okay quickly tied the score at 43:43. Though the Israeli team made a 6:0 run to fight back 51:49 and 55:49. The Turkish players played more accurately in the last sec of the period and reduced the gap to 56:57.
After 2 min played in the last period the score was tied at 60:60 due to a 3-pointer from E.Ekmen. In the midst of the quarter E.Arslan hit foul shots precisely  -  63:63, but M.Gilad hurried up to answer 65:63. The Turkish players spurted up again and got into lead 68:65. With 1:30 on the game clock G.Pnini made a three  -  70:74. With 30 sec left to play A.Nanikashvily scored efficiently 73:74 but soon E.Arslan answered with a two and foul shot to make it 73:77. A.Nanikashvily's 3-point shot failed to hit the target and E.Veyseloglu reassured the victory for the Turkish team 79:73.
S.Druker, the Head Coach of Israeli NT: "We played pretty well, it's a pity we lost several easy points. The main reason of our 10th position in the Championships is the loss of our 5 players who've been injured. I'd like to express my gratitude for a wonderful organization of the tournament."
I.Beles, the Assistant Coach of Turkish NT: "We're glad about our 9th place in the Championship. Such games are very useful for young players. I give credit to Israeli players who were fighting very bravely. Also we'd like to thank all Lithuanian public as well as organizers for a warm welcome."

  11th Place Game:
Italy - Ukraine 90-77

The Italian players overpowered their contemporaries from Ukraine 90:77 to leave them lacking behind in the last (12th) position of the Championship.
Ukraine got off to a more successful start 4:3, 7:5. But A.Gigli hit 2 foul shots to bring his team ahead 9:7. After 4 min played the Ukrainians tied the score at 11:11, yet the Italians spurted up and the score was 19:14. Both the teams exchanged several precise shots. At the end of the quarter P.Barlera hit a two to end at 23:21 for the Italian side.
After the break the Italians kept increasing the difference, mainly thanks to the efforts of P.Barlera  -  30:23. Adding more speed to the game they kept the margin growing up 35:23, 40:25. Even the zone defense of the Ukrainian players didn't make any impact, as they couldn't stop the shooting artillery of the Italian team. However, at the end of the half time the Ukrainians got up to reduce the bulge to 10  -  44:34 after Lishchouk's far-range shot. The period finished 49:39 with Italians still at top.
In the 3rd quarter the Italians increased the gap once more  -  54:39. After 2 min played the leader of Ukrainian NT S.Lishchouk fouled out to leave the court giving a free way to the Italian representatives  -  59:41. D.Brkic made a bucket to get a 17-point lead  -  67:50 in the midst of the quarter. Due to Onufriev's hard effort the Ukrainians managed to get a bit closer, but the Italians finished still in double figure 70:59.
At the beginning of the 4th, the Italian team continued their marathon  -  77:61, 81:63. L.Zagainov and A.Malysh tried to save up the situation for the Ukrainian team, but that was not enough. The Italians moved gradually to a 90:77 victory.
V.Lapshinov, Head of Ukrainian Delegation: "We were going to win our last game, yet that didn't come true. Our players lacked discipline. We've expected to get among the first 8 before the Championship. So, I'm dissatisfied with the current performance of the team."
V.Deraffaele, the Assistant Coach of Italian NT: "I'm glad about the victory, though of course that's not a special achievement. It would have been greater to compete with the strongest 8 teams. Thus, it's the reason for a motivation to improve."

   Quarterfinals, Aug.2, 2002:

Croatia - Greece 80-81
Greek NT got a narrow 1-point escape as they defeated Croatia 81:80 in the European Championship Quarterfinals.
L.Milanovic, the Head Coach of Croatian NT: "The Greek team played a superb game. In the 3rd period our opponents managed to gain a 17-point margin. Though we were able to catch them up and even outweigh the result. But at the end we felt short off accuracy as well as concentration. It's a great pity we've lost. The players are deeply disappointed that's why they didn't come to the press conference."
N.Keramefs, the Head Coach of Greek NT: "We were eager to get to the Final Four, thus we planned the game accurately. Firstly, we tried to defend very carefully. But still didn't avoid certain downs in our play. I was disappointed that the Head Coach of Croatian team didn't shake the hands. I hope for even better performance in the upcoming games."
K.Kaimakoglou, Greek NT: "The fight was tough from the very beginning, but I think we played a better game. We kept our dominance during the whole game. If M.Popovic had hit the last shot it would have been dishonest. Now our goal is to improve our play in each game."

Slovenia - France 73-84
M.Becirovic, the Head Coach of Slovenian NT: "We knew that would be a tough game as our team is much weaker physically. We tried to switch on zone defense but that didn't help. Our opponents got 22 offensive rebounds. With 2-3 min remaining the result was quite satisfying, yet we didn't manage to keep it."
M.Bursic, Slovenian NT: "I agree with the coach completely. We demonstrated a normal play in the 35-36 min, but the end was very unsuccessful and we lost. Congratulations to the French team."
R.Billant, the Head Coach of France NT: "We were worth of getting to the Semifinals. We knew that Slovenians played a reasonable game. We started well defensively and managed to gain a 10-point advantage. But Diaw and Evtimov's fouls were worrying and I had to substitute them, which caused some sort of destruction in the team. Thus the Slovenians got close. The 2nd half of the game was very persisting. At the end we strengthened our defense and that was the right choice for our win."
B.Diaw, France NT: "It's been the best game of our team in the Championships from the offensive as well as defensive point of view. Only the foul efficiency is really worrying, but that's mainly my fault  -  I hit 2 foul shots out of 9. One of the main reasons of our win  -  our wish to play as well as we can after Slovenian NT finished leading Group A. It was very important to get to the Semifinals for us. After our win in the last Championship we wouldn't be satisfied with 5-9 places."

Russia - Lithuania 83-75
R.Endrijaitis, the Head Coach of Lithuanian NT: "Our midrange accuracy was very low, contrary to our opponents. Also we committed a number of turnovers. Besides, our one of the leaders S.Jasaitis scored only 9 pts, that's too little for him. We were too strained throughout the game."
A.Kieza, Lithuanian NT: "We failed to come back to the baskets, that allowed our opponents to score easy points. Our key-players performed unsuccessfully today."
V.Radionov, the Head Coach of Russian NT: "I've told before the game that it would be rather difficult to play against the hosts. But we played like a real team. S.Monia was unlucky today, but G.Zelenskiy performed efficiently scoring decisive points."
V.Khriapa, Russian NT: "This game was very important and we're glad to get among the strongest 4. We won 3 friendly games against Lithuania that made us easy at the end and the opponents got close. We managed to concentrate and proved our superiority."

Yugoslavia - Spain 71-72
J.Arsic, the Head Coach of Yugoslavian NT: "That was the worst way to lose a game. We were leading the whole match; played good defense in the first half. Though after the break we started making too many mistakes and the Spanish team scored numerous easy points. My players are extremely disappointed about this loss. They are not used to such failure, thus it's very difficult to say how they'll manage to play tomorrow."
R.Casas, the Head Coach of Spanish NT: "It's an achievement for us to defeat such a strong team as Yugoslavia. We worked hard throughout all 40 min. The opponents were leading for the most of the time until we improved our defense. That allowed us to make some easy points and dominate the courts through the rest of the game."
R.Guerra, Spanish NT: "It was a tough game from the very beginning. Already in the first half the Yugoslavians led by 11. We won mainly thanks to our good defense and self-confidence. Also we were luckier. During the last 2 sec we scored 2 pts. We are very happy to win this game."

   9-12th Places Games: Turkey  -  Ukraine 101-98
E.Arslan increased the gap for the Turkish team at the beginning of the 2nd. C.Ozseven added a far-range shot to bring his team forwards 38:27. But in the midst of the quarter the Ukrainians managed to reduce the score to 33:38. The Ukrainian players switched on zone defense but E.Arslan hit a three to end the period at 52:42.
S.Lishchouk started the 3rd with a precise shot  -  45:52. Both the teams exchanged several attacks to make it 48:57, 52:60. I.Skurupiy performed efficiently, followed by Lishchouk they caught back with the opponents to get to 59:62. E.Arslan fought back to increase the bulge to 10  -  64:72. The Ukrainians got stuck in Turkish zone defense for a moment, but managed to get it through and appeared close 74:76. The quarter ended at 80:74 with Turkish team ahead.
Lishchouk made another try to bring the team back in the 4th  -  80:82. Yet not for a long. Strengthening the defense the Turkish team still kept ahead. Lishchouk appeared once more  -  89:93. With 1:30 remaining E.Ekmen hit a three and ran away 98:89. The Ukrainian players didn't manage to catch the opponent up and lost the game 98:101.
E.Taslitskiy, the Head Coach of Ukrainian NT: "The players didn't fulfill my tasks. They also failed to resist the zone defense of the opponents. Those were the main reasons of our loss."
M.Ozgul, the Head Coach of Turkish NT: "We are glad about our first win. We played well in defense and offense. We succeeded to neutralize the Ukrainian perimeter players who failed to shoot from behind the arc."

Israel  -  Italy 75-67
V.Deraffaele, the Assistant Coach of Italian NT: "We played two different parts of the game. We managed to deal with the first, but too relaxed during the second. The Israeli players though showed their character and won."
S.Druker, the Head Coach of Israeli NT: "We demonstrated our superb character. Moreover, we played for all our injured teammates."

 Quarter Finals Preview:Russia (B1) - Lithuania (A4) - Aug 2, 2002 - by Mindaugas Veromejus
Tomas Delininkaitis (190-G-82) decisive shot at the buzzer in the game against Italy gave Lithuanian U-20 NT a 87-85 victory and the last ticket to the Quarterfinal stage. Lithuania has been the biggest dissapointment so far in the tournament. Lithuanians lost first 3 close games against Yugoslavia, Greece and Slovenia. However Lithuanian team has played much better in the games against Turkey and Italy. But injury of point-gaurd Tomas Delininkaitis in the 2 quarter in the game against Italy showed that his back-ups are not equal substitutes for him. Lithuanian team lost it's advantage when Delininkaitis was benched. Delininkaitis has been one of the few surprises in Lithuanian team. More steady than flashy, Delininkaitis' floor leadership and deadeye shooting make him one of the best point-guards in the tournament. Tomas Delininkaitis is 2nd leading scorer in Lithuanian team with 12.2 points, 1.8 assits, 1.8 steals per game, while shooting 2pointers 62.50%. Aurimas Kieza (203-F-82) was one more surprise for Lithuanian fans as expected to be backup and get limited playing time, Kieza managed to collect 16 points and 12 rebounds in the game against Turkey. Kieza's averages of 9.6 points, 7.2 rebounds in just 23.4 minutes per game speaks for itself. Nevertheless Simas Jasaitis (199-F/G-82) has been main contributor for Lithuanian team in group competitions and his averages of 18 points and 8 rebounds per game are not noly the best among Lithuanians, but also among top 5 in tournament. Jasaitis guided his team to the victories against Turkey and Italy with 29 and 28 points respectively. However there were more dissapointments than surprises in Lithuanian team. Saulius Kuzminskas (211-C/F-82, college: California) has solid averages of 10 points and 7.6 rebounds per game, but he was expected to be more consistent and dominate under the boards. Other starting five players Vaidotas Peciukas (197-G-82) and Tadas Klimavicius (202-F-82) averages 7.2 and 7.8 points respectively but neither one of them provides as big scoring as expected. Russians have been much more consistent in the group competitons and only powerful and skillful French players managed to overcome Russian team. Russian success is based on versalite big guns of the squad: Viktor Khryapa (205-F/G-82), Sergei Monya (205-F-83) and Aleksei Zozoulin (200-G/F-83). Khriapa has long arms and can block shots and hit the boards with most post men. Scores from anywhere inside or outside the three point line. Besides great front-line Russian have solid contributor among the guards  -  Aleksei Zozouline, who is team player, handles ball with ease and has a sweet stroke from downtown. Victor Khriapa leads the team in scoring and averages 16.4 points, 5 rebounds, 4.2 assists per game. Serguei Monya has averages of 15.2 points and 5 rebounds, while Aleksei Zozouline 10 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. Summarizing, it's expected to be tough battle, as always between all age groups national teams from Lithuania and Russia, and Lithuanians has the last chance to realize their goals in the tournament in sight of Lithuanian fans.

  Quarter Finals Preview: Croatia (B2) - Greece (A3) - Aug 1, 2002 - by Mindaugas Veromejus


After a slow start, Croatian NT showed why they're one of the tournament's elite teams, and won 4 games in a row in group competitions. Obviously success of Croatian team depends on playmaker Marko Popovic (185-G-82) and center Kresimir Loncar (210-F-83). They both were among the best players in the tournament in the group competitions. Popovic's numbers are very impressive, he is leading scorer in the tournament with 28.5 points per game while his 2pointers shooting percentage is 61.54%. But keep in mind that he also shares the ball with other scorers and leads the tournament with 6.25 assits per game. Popovic was virtually unstoppable in 3 of 4 games he played (against Russia, Ukraine and France). Popovic knows how to score as he is dangerous from outside and smooth going to the basket. Shoots, pass and plays smart, has been steady floor general during group competition. Sometimes called "European Allen Iverson" for quickness with the ball, limitless range, and ability to create his own shot. Quarter Finals match will be the battle between two of the best point-guards in the tournament as Vasilis Spanoulis (192-G-82) had solid numbers of 14.8 points and 4.6 assits per game in the group competitions. Nikos Zisis (195-G-83) has been leader of Greek NT with 16.4 points and 3.6 assits while shooting 3pointers 56.52%. Zisis is expected to lead the team in Quarter Finals too, as Neven Cuzela (190-G-83) usually starts the game for Croatians at shooting guard position. And being 13cm bigger than his competitor Zisis would have big advantage near the basket. Christos Tapoutos (206-F/G-82, agent: Tountouris Pashalis) is 3rd leading scorer in Greek NT with 14.6 points and 4.8 rebounds. Nevertheless Croatians have advantage at front-court as Kresimir Loncar has been monster under the boards with averages of 15.5 points and 10.75 rebounds and he can expect support of Marin Rozic (201-F-83) 11.25 points, 5 rebounds and Damir Omerhodzic (210-C-85), who had impressive game against the Ukraine with 17 points and 18 rebounds. Under the basket, Greeks are banking on reliable, consistent role players, not so impressive centers Kostas Kaimakoglou (205-C-83) and Giannis Bourousis (215-C-83). Kaimakoglou is undersized and doesn't have bulk to be great low-post stopper and his averages of 10.2 points and 4 rebounds per game speaks for itself. Ioannis Bourousis is a hefty back-up. After all, both teams seem to have enough potential and are worth a chance to fight for medals. Marko Popovic, Kresimir Loncar and Nikos Zisis are among the best players at their age in Europe and this game will show who is the best from the bunch.

  Slovenia is #1 in Group A - Aug 1, 2002 - by Yarone Arbel

Beno Udrih

Group A: Slovenia 75 - Yugoslavia 71
The Slovenian team has proved its superiority by defeating Yugoslavians 75:71 in the last game of the Championship in Kaunas. Before the game it was known that the winner will capture the first spot in Group A, and Slovenia led by Uros Slokar (209-F/C-83) and Beno Udrih (194-G-82, agent: Balducci Maurizio) did what it takes. The 1st period of the match finished at 20:18 with Slovenian squad at top. Leading after the 2nd 41:36 they still managed to keep their leading position on the courts. The Yugoslavian players led in 3-point efficiency (40% / 28%), they, yet, made more mistakes (9/5) and lacked behind in rebounds (2/7). E.Lorbek returned to the courts to score 11 pts within 20 min for the Slovenian side. The Yugoslavian team was led by B.Popovic (10). In the 3rd period of the game the Slovenian team managed to keep a 2  -  10  -  point advantage: 41:39, 49:42, namely due to the efforts of U.Slokar (19). With 3 min left to play the Slovenian squad increased the margin to 10  -  55:45. Though at the end of the quarter the Yugoslavian representatives succeeded to reduce the gap to 55:58. As usual in the 4th period the Yugoslavian players started their spurt into the game and fought back 57:58. A.Pavlovic outweighed the result 62:61 and M.Jovanovic increased to 64:61 hitting foul shots precisely. A tough fight entered into the game. After B.Udrih successful performance the Slovenians regained the leading rights 69:66 and U.Slokar followed up to widen the gap to 71:66. However, the Yugoslavians fought back and B.Popovic (12) quickly tied the score at 71:71. With 13 sec left to go B. Udrih made it 73:71. Coming back the Yugoslavian players turned the ball over, which granted a victory for the Slovenian side 75:71.
J.Arsic, the Head Coach of Yugoslavian NT: "It's necessary to play at maximum speed in order to win over such a team as Slovenia and we played really bad. Now our goal is to prepare as well as possible for the Quarterfinals. I think my team is capable to get to the best 4."
M.Pupovic, Yugoslavian NT: "We played well against Greek and Italian teams. Today we were too much relaxed and made a lot of mistakes. In the 1st half we lost in defensive rebounds, in the 2nd we were too slow. We played our usual style in the final two periods but that was not enough."
M.Becirovic, the Head Coach of Slovenian NT: "After our considerable loss to Greece we were eager to win. The Yugoslavians seemed a bit less determined. But still I think that Yugoslavians were the strongest in our group."
E.Lorbek, Slovenian NT: "We played good defense in this game. Yugoslavians are one of the favorites in the Championship. We proved our force to win against any team."

Slovenia (20+21+17+17): Slokar 23 + 9 rbs, Udrih 17 + 4 rbs, Lorbek 12, Zupan 9, Burisc 6, Vujacic 4, Zagorac 2, Capin 2
Yugoslavia (18+18+19+16): Popovic 12, Pavlovic 11, Bakic 10, Marinovic 9, Sekulic 8, Jovanovic 8, Krstic 8, Pupovic 3, Koljevic 2

  Meaningless win for Croatia - Aug 1, 2002 - by Yarone Arbel
Group B: Croatia 92 - Ukraine 89
In the last game of the Championship in Alytus Sports Palace the Croatian team overpowered Ukraine 92:89. Since the game could not influence on the standings, both teams entered the game without the main starters: S.Lishchouk, A.Onufriev and V. Boyko were absent in the Ukrainian squad whilst Croatians played without their main force M.Popovic, K.Loncar and M.Rozic. Tough and even fight continued till the center of the 1st period. But soon V.Morovic's foul shots brought Croatia into an 8-point lead 12:20. S.Shpralja increased the score to 13  -  25:12. V.Boyko spurted up to reduce the margin by hitting a far-range shot and the quarter ended at 28:25 for the Croatian side. At the beginning of the 2nd period L.Zagainov tied the score at 28:28 and even outweighed 31:28 for the Ukrainian team. At the midst of the period the fight got even 35:35, with 2 min left to play  -  43:43. At the end of the quarter the teams exchanged several shots from behind the arc and Croatians got into lead 50:48. In the first minutes of the 3rd D.Toroman increased the gap to 6  -  57:51. After two precise shots of this player the bulge increased to 10 - 64:54. The Ukrainians fought back quickly to reduce the margin 63:67. Keeping at the same pace the teams got to 72:68 and after A.Malysh's dunk the bulge decreased to tiny 2 72:70. The score continued balancing from one side to another at the beginning of the 4th: 74:75, 79:77, 81:82. With 3 min remaining S.Shpralja increased the difference for the Croatian side  -  86:81. With 1:10 left on the game clock Lishchouk's 3-point shot brought Ukrainians to 1 89:90. Even fouls didn't help the Ukrainians to achieve the victory as V.Morovic hit two successfully to go for a 92:89 win.
V.Boyko, Ukrainian NT: "The statistics of the game witnesses an equal fight. We lacked accuracy at the end of the game."
L.Milanovic, the head Coach of Croatian NT: "My congratulations to both the teams. That was a beautiful win. Now it's very important to concentrate for the Friday's fight."
D.Toroman, Croatian NT: "It was difficult to prepare for this game as we knew we've been 2nd in the group. Those players who play less were to show their strength today. We hope to continue victoriously in the following games."

Croatia (28+22+22+20): Toroman 19, Morovic 19 + 6 rbs + 5 as, Omerhodzic 17 + 18 rbs, Spralja 14, Cuzela 8, Gligora 6, Trepalovac 3, Kurilic 3, Bulic 3
Ukraine (25+23+22+19): Zagaynoy 24 - 6/10 3FG, Boyko 14, Lishchuk 12 + 10 rbs, Onufriyev 8 + 7 rbs, Malysh 8 + 8 rbs, Gubenko 6, Sokur 5, Shkurupiy 5, Kozlov 3, Shevchenko 2, Nerush 2

  Lithuania beat Italy after OT - Jul 31, 2002 - by Mindaugas Veromejus
Lithuanian Youth National Team has qualified to the Championship Quarterfinals by defeating Italy 87:85 in overtime. Both the teams entered the fight highly determined. After S.Jasaitis (4) and M.Dipartas's (2) shots Lithuania burst out 5:2, 11:7. The Italians, though, answered with a couple of far-range hits from J.Zacchetti and L.Garri. With 7 min left the Lithuanians were leading 20:14. At the end of the period S.Jasaitis (9) increased the gap to 27:18 making another precise far-range shot. At the 12th min of the match the hosts went further 31:18, thanks to T.Klimavicius' efficient shot. Yet, the Italians started increasing the pace to get nearer 33:26. S.Kuzminkas came back to the courts to save up the situation for the hosts. Assisted by A.Kieza (2) they achieved the game high 42:26. T.Klimavicius' performance helped the Lithuanians to make the bulge 56:35. The Italians answered to appear close 57:43. S.Mancinelli dunked impressively to end up at 62:50 with Italians still lacking behind. The last period started with Italians' successful three as well as foul shots  -  62:55. Making use of the hosts' errant decisions in defense L.Sottana (6) almost caught up with the opponents 60:64. S.Mancinelli (10) assisted his teammate to reduced to tiny 3  -  66:63. The Lithuanians started their spurt with S.Jasaitis and T.Delininkaitis' (8) help. They managed to widen the gap 74:65. With 1:21 remaining, after L.Sottana precise foul shots Lithuanians led 76:71. J.Giacchetti hit a shot from behind the arc to balance at 2 (76:74) with 46 sec. left. After the Italians' mistake with 19 sec left and Lithuanians' turnover with 6 sec remaining, J.Zacchetti tied the score at 76:76 to go for overtime. The Lithuanians were forced to continue the fight without S.Kuzminskas (7) and T.Klimavicius who got 5 fouls. Unable to deal with J.Zacchetti, the hosts let the opponents ahead 80:79. P.Ciukinas took over the initiative to outweigh the result 83:80. S.Jasaitis (28) soon joined the friends to increase the gap to 85:80. Yet, the Italians hit a three to come back 85:83 and S.Mancinelli soon tied at 85:85. T.Delininkaitis took the leading role to hit the decisive shot and lead his team to an 87:85 victory getting the last ticket to the Quarterfinal stage.
G.Gebbia, the Head Coach of Italian NT: "That was a wonderful match. In the 1st half of the game we lacked self-confidence and proper defense allowing the opponents to score 47 pts. I'm glad we've managed to recover in the 2nd half. Our inability to rebound in offense at the last min was fatal to lose this game."
J.Giachetti, Italian NT: "We got off to a very bad start, but our performance in the 2nd half has been one of the best ever. I think we were worth to qualify for the following stage."
R.Endrijaitis, the Head Coach of Lithuanian NT: "We were highly determined for this fight. We proved our play with tough defense. We managed to get ahead, but still made a lot of mistakes. Our players lack experience in such level competition. I'm glad about our improved defense and rebounding. We should work on far-range shots."
T.Delininkaitis, Lithuanian NT: "It was a tough and interesting game we had to win at any price. We all were very concentrated, the luck was with us."

Lithuania (27+20+15+14+11): Jasaitis 28 + 9rebounds, Klimavicius 16 + 6rebounds, Kieza 11 + 7rebounds, Delininkaitis 10, Peciukas 9, Kuzminskas 7 + 12rebounds, Ciukinas 4 + 6rebounds, Pociukonis 2, Gaidamavicius, Serapinas, Dipartas, Velius - DNP.
Italy (18+13+19+26+9): Giachetti 22 + 5assists, Zacchetti 16, Sottana 12, Mancinelli 12, Garri 10 + 8rebounds, Brkic 5, Barlera 4, Fultz 3, Flamini 1, Formenti, Infante, Gigli - DNP.

  Russia takes 1st place - Jul 31, 2002 - by Yarone Arbel
Group B: Russia 81 - Spain 71
Defeating Spain with a 10-point margin 81:71 Russia has gained the 1st position in Group B. Both the teams started an equal fight at the beginning of the game. After 3 min played the score was 4:4. In the center of the quarter Adamu led his team ahead 11:6. Zazouline added a three to increase the game to 16:12. Yet Vazquez answered with a dunk to get closer 16:14. The quarter finished at 20:18 with the Russians going ahead. At the beginning of the 2nd both the teams exchanged quick attacks to keep the score growing 27:24. Monia increased the bulge for the Russian team 34:24 hitting a far-range shot and making a dunk. Continuing his sole performance he brought the Russians forwards 43:27. The Russians kept their high pace and moved to a 49:32 half time win. After the break the result kept growing for the Russian side. Another Monia's dunk increased the gap to 18  -  61:43 in the center of the period. The Spanish players just couldn't fight the right decision in defense, more than that they didn't catch up with the quick opponents' offense. They tried to press the Russians hard, yet didn't make a considerable progress and the period finished at 67:49. The Spaniards couldn't catch up the opponents into the 4th. With 4 min on the game clock the gap increased to 17  -  78:59. However, the Spanish players spurted up to reduce the bulge 78:63 after Maralles' precise shot. With 1 min remaining they quickly went to 9  -  80:71. In spite of all Spaniards' efforts, the Russian squad celebrated the victory 81:71 to get to the leading position of Group B.
R.Casas, the Head Coach of Spanish NT: "Russia has proved its superiority in all components of the game  -  offense as well as defense. We made too much mistakes that caused such a considerable margin in the score. It's very hard to erase the deficit while playing against such a team as Russia."
I.Cortaberria, Spanish NT: "The Russians started very concentrated, whereas we didn't manage to gather strength. We made a lot of mistakes, which resulted in easy points of our opponents."
V.Radionov, the Head Coach of Russian NT: "The Spaniards were too much tired after the yesterday's match. That's the main reason of such a big point difference in the score. Now we will meet Lithuania in the Quarterfinals. Although I do not consider them the favorites, it very difficult to play against the hosts."

Russia (20+29+18+14): Khriapa 18 + 10 rbs + 6 as + 5 to, Monia 18 + 5 rbs, Adamu 18 - 8/10 FG + 7 rbs, Zelenski 12 + 8 rbs, Zozouline 8, Karpov 5, Baranov 2
Spain (18+14+17+22): Rubio 13 + 7 rbs, Miralles 12, Vazquez 9, Llorente 9, Guerra 8, Kortaberria 8, Martin 4, Mena 3, Grimau 2, Triguero 2, Miso 1

  France qualify to the QF - Jul 31, 2002 - by Yarone Arbel
Group B: France 80 - Israel 71
Powerful and skillful French players overcame Israel 80:71 in their last game of Group B. The French players got off to an early lead 5:4. R.Limonad answered with two successful attacks to get over France 8:5. O.Shaashua got injured after his clash with M.Pietrus and the latter took over the initiative to tie the score at 10:10. In the midst of the period B.Diaw and R.Turiaf entered the courts to get France ahead 18:14. Another efficient dunk from R.Turiaf ended the quarter at 23:14 with France going in front. In the 2nd period of the match the French players took a stable position to lead safely 27:18, 32:18, 36:24. Step  -  by  -  step they moved to the half time victory 40:28. G.Yango and Y.Diawara performed efficiently not o let the Israeli players get close  -  48:38. After G.Szaszcak and I.Evtimov's true hits the score became 55:46. Switching on to zone defense the Israeli players were to mislead the opponents, yet unsuccessfully. Edged by zone pressure of the French team they kept lacking behind 47:61. R.Limonad opened up the last quarter with two precise shots to make it 61:51. Another two buckets answered by G.Pnini reduced the gap to 4  -  61:57, forcing R.Billant to call for a time-out. Adding more aggressiveness to the play the French players moved forwards 66:57, 68:60. Tough defense of the Israeli team eliminated U.Marko and A.Nanikashvily. Despite the fact, the French players climbed easily into an 80:71 victory.
S.Druker, the Head Coach of Israeli NT: "We came to the Championship without our 5 injured players. Today we have lost one more  -  O.Shaashua. We started preparing for this tournament quite ambitiously, yet didn't succeed. I'd like to express my gratitude for a wonderful welcome to the Championship."
R.Billant, the Head Coach of French NT: "Israel is a very complicated team playing very aggressively. We tried to use our tall players also applied various systems. I also gave an opportunity for our bench squad."
I.Evtimov, French NT: "It was quite a difficult game. We'd been preparing for it carefully. It was sort of rehearsal before the Quarterfinals we hope to play at against the 2nd team of Group A."
France (23+17+21+19): Turiaf 19, Pietrus 13, Szaszcak 10, Diaw 8, Diawara 8, Nijean 6, Evtimov 6, Yango 6, Tillon 3, Doreau 1
Israel (14+14+19+24): Limonad 18 + 6 as, Pnini 17 + 6 rbs, Nanikashvily 13, Itzhak 9, Gilad 8, Marko 4, Matta 2

  Turkey still looking for a 1st win - Jul 31, 2002 - by Yarone Arbel
Group A: Greece 95 - Turkey 75
The Turkish NT has ended the performance in Group A of the Championship without a single victory in their record as they got defeated by Greece 73:65 in the last game of the tournament. Even the today's win could hardly improve the rankings for the Turkish NT. That would have been only the matter of honor. The Turkish players were the first to score the baskets, though Greeks soon caught up to get to lead 8:3. Due to hard efforts from E.Arslan (5) the Turkish squad was trying to follow closely behind  -  8:11, 12:15. Yet N.Zisis performed well to increase the gap to 19:12. After another minute G.Tsiakos (6) made the score 28:16 and the quarter ended at 30:18 for the Greek side. E.Arslan (11) together with E.Akmen (9) were the main force to cause troubles for the Greeks at the beginning of the 2nd. After their 3 successful attacks in a row the gap was narrowed to 27:36. Thought the Greek side managed to deal with the defensive system of the opponents and moved to a solid 52:35 half time win. The Turkish team entered the 3rd with a 7:0 run to reduce the bulge slightly 39:52. Yet that didn't last long as at the 25 min of the game the Greeks were leading 64:42. Despite a number of errant decisions in defense of both the teams the score kept rising 77:57 in favor of the Greek team. The situation didn't change at the final period. The Greek NT easily climbed into a 95:73 victory.
I.Beles, the Head Coach of Turkish NT: "We have expected such our performance in the tournament. After our first losses to Slovenia and Ukraine it was very difficult to prepare the players, that's why we lost the rest of the games with a considerable margin. I hope for our better performance after the rest day."
I.Okay, Turkish NT: "It was very difficult to prepare for the game after loosing all chances to qualify for the Quarterfinals. Now our goal is 9th position. We'll do our best to achieve it."
N.Toufas, the Assistant Coach of Greek NT: "It was an important game for us as we wanted to take as high position in the group as possible. We also were eager to find out our Quarterfinals opponent. During the day  -  off we'll try to analyze it properly to get ready for the game."
G.Tsiaras, Greek NT: "The game wasn't very interesting as the Turkish team had already lost the chance to qualify for the following stage. We are eager to find out the opponents in the next stage of the tournament."
Greece (30+22+25+18): Misiakos  15, Tsiakos 11, Georgalis 11, Tapoutos 10, Spanoulis 9, Bourousis 8, Kaimakoglou 8, Tsiaras 6, Zisis 6, Charitopoulos 5, Gizogiannis 4, Koumpouras 2
Turkey (18+17+22+16): Arslan 19, Ekmen 17, Veyseloglu 10, Okey 9, Ozdemir 7, Guney 4, Akin 3, Ozseven 2, Ozer 2

  King Popovic rules - Jul 28, 2002 - by Yarone Arbel

with 37

Group B: Croatia 91 - France 84
French NT didn't resist Croatian force by losing 84:93 to make the situation clumsy. Croatian NT entered the game smoothly  -  2:5, 5:7. Despite their early loss of key-force Kresimir Loncar (210-F-83), after 3:30 min played, they still managed to keep ahead 10:12. Continuing on the same mood Croatians were going forwards: 16:17. But aggressive French forward Guillaume Yango (204-F-82) tied the score at 20:20 after the 1st. Quick attacks opened up the 2nd period of the game. Powerful M.Popovic's burst brought Croatians forwards 24:22. N.Cuzela's three was answered by a far range shot of Boris-Riffiod Diaw (203-F-82, agent: Neustadt Doug) to even once again 27:27. With 2:30 min left to play D.Omerhodzic brought his team ahead 34:36, though I.Evtimov's efficient shot from behind the arc finished the quarter at 42:41 with France leading the score. Close and persistent fight continued into the 3rd. The score kept increasing  -  44:44. By the midst of the period Croatians managed to burst into a 3-point lead 46:49. S.Spralja's two and Marin Rozic (201-F-83)'s three increased the Croatian advantage to 53:61. Another 2 hit by R.Turiaf reduced the gap to 6  -  55:61 for the French side. Unstoppable Marin Rozic (201-F-83) continued shooting  -  show for the Croatian team  -  59:68. Several errant shots of the French players and true hit from M.Popovic increased the margin to 10. Although the French players managed to bring the team closer, Croatian side didn't step aside. The shooting artillery from Marko Popovic (185-G-82) (37) and Loncar kept them bringing forwards 70:61. Even hard court pressure applied by the French players didn't help them to get any closer and Croatians finished triumphantly 84:91.
R.Billant, the Head Coach of French NT: "We were not able to hold Popovic, moreover, lacked aggressiveness. I insisted on an aggressive style of playing, but we failed."
L.Milanovic, the Assistant Coach of Croatian NT: "I give credit to my players for a wonderful play and defense. Even our injured players found strength for this important game. "
M.Popovic, Croatian NT: "I think we played a great game. My 37 points mean nothing as the team managed to fight bravely without my presence on the court. We have to concentrated for a game against Spain."

Croatia (20+21+20+30): Popovic 37 - 12/18 FG, Loncar 15 + 11 rbs, Rozic 14 + 7 rbs, Cuzela 12, Kurilic 7, Omerhodzic 3, Gligora 2, Spralja 1
France ( 20+22+13+29): Diaw 21 + 12 rbs, Turiaf 21 + 10 rbs, Pietrus 14 + 8 rbs, Chelle 8, Evtimov 6, Szaszcak 5, Yango 4, Diawara 4, Nijean 1

  Russia jumps over Ukraine - Jul 28, 2002 - by Yarone Arbel
Group A: Russia 89 - Ukraine 69
After the yesterday's loss to France, the Russian youth squad proved its superiority over Ukrainians beating them 89:69. Both the teams entered into an even fight at the beginning of the game. The Russian forwards  -  Monia & Zazouline  -  took the initiative to end the period with a 3-point lead 22:25. The Ukrainian team collected efforts to apply whole  -  court  -  defense as well as more pressure in offense against the Russians who were still ahead 29:26. Getting Monia fouled with 3rd didn't save up the situation, as the difference remained 34:31 still for Russian squad. Due to efficient play of Bykov assisted by Baranov, the Russians went to a more solid lead 41:33 to finish the quarter already by 10  -  47:37. After the halftime, the teams continued at the same pace keeping margin that of 10  -  53:43. Though the Ukrainians managed to fight back 55:50 after Lishchouk's hit from behind the arc. Several mistakes in defense brought the Ukrainians back 68:54. The Russian team finished ahead 70:61. Brilliant duo show of Chriapa and Baranov opened up the last period of the game. After their efficient shots Russia got to a 77:61 lead. Clumsy Ukrainians' defense as well as Adamu's successful dunk increased the bulge to 22  -  83:61 leaving no hopes for the Ukrainian side. The Russian team finished with a considerable 20-point lead 89:69.
E.Taslitskiy, the Head Coach of Ukrainian NT: "We played below our usual level. Our players lost a psychological battle."
V.Radionov, the Head Coach of Russian NT: "We played a stabile game and managed to deal with the Ukrainian guards. Now it's important to avoid considerable ups  -  and  -  downs."

Russia (25+22+23+19): Baranov 19, Adamu 18, Khriapa 18 - 8/11 FG, Monia 10, Zozouline 10, Bykov 7, Ivanov 2, Soldatov 2, Zelenski 2, Gorolevski 1
Ukraine (22+15+24+8): Lishchuk 20 + 14 rbs, Shkurpuly 15, Onufriyev 12, Sokur 8, Shaposhnikov 8, Malysh 4, Narush 2

  Spain beat Israel in a thriller - Jul 28, 2002 - by Yarone Arbel
Group B: Spain 64 - Israel 61
Highly supported by Alytus' crowd the Israeli players stood close to their first victory in the 6th European Championship for Young Men. However, the Spanish side appeared stronger to demonstrate more coolness and win the game 64:61. Both the teams entered into a speedy 1st quarter of the game. Highly motivated Israeli players burst out 3:6. Though winning a 3 min run the Spaniards made it 15:6 after G.Rubio's two successful hits. The Israeli squad got stick to tough defense to reduce the gap 17:13. Quick tempo opened up the 2 quarter of the match. Receiving much support from the players as well as crowd in Alytus Sports Palace the Israeli team outweighed the result 19:18. Yet the Spanish youngsters didn't get lost and C.Triguero's buckets brought them forwards 27:21 to end the period at 31:23 for the Spanish side. Much determined Israeli players decreased the margin to 7  -  37:30 at the beginning of the 3rd. After technical foul dedicated to Spaniard R.Martinez, the opponents got close again 39:35. The representatives of Spain managed to run by adding whole court pressure  -  43:35. But successful attempts of O.Shaashua and U.Marko erased the bulge to 2  -  43:41. A.Nanikashvily's far-range shot made it 46:44. One more true basket of Israeli team opened up the final quarter of the game and O.Shaashua brought his team ahead 47:46. At the midst of the period the score kept balancing  -  52:52, 54:54, 57:57. The tense kept rising. With 3 min on the game clock A.Miralles exploded to make it 61:57. A far  -  range answer from E.Itzhak got Israel to 61:60. Hitting fouls efficiently Miralles soon added to the score. Coolly determined Spaniards tore off the win 64:61.
S.Druker, the Head Coach of Israeli NT: "After the game I said to my players that I was satisfied with their performance. We were real warriors in offense as well as defense feeling much support from Alytus' crowd."
R,Casas, the Head Coach of Spanish NT: "It's very hard to concentrate properly for each game. I give credit to Israeli team for their brilliant performance and hard work on the courts. We were following strict discipline and that helped us, especially at the end of the game."
Spain (17+14+15+18): Miralles 14, Rubio 11, Miso 8, Vazquez 8, Triguero 7, Kortaberria 6, Martinez 5, Llorente 4, Grimau 1
Israel (13+10+21+17): Marko 17, Itzhak 12 + 12 rbs, Nanikashvily 9, Shaashoua 8, Limonad 7 + 5 rbs, Pnini 6 - 0/6 3FG + 7 rbs, Gilad 2

  Yugoslavia survives Greece - Jul 28, 2002 - by Yarone Arbel
Group A: Yugoslavia 93 - Greece 89
Yugoslavian Youth National Team has been on victorious mood as it achieved the 3rd victory defeating Greece 93:89. From the very first minutes Yugoslavian players started breaking the defense wall of the Greek side. Spurting up at the beginning they quickly got a 5:0 lead. After 2 min played the Greek team nearly caught up with the opponent 5:4, but in the midst of the period Yugoslavian players regained their lead 12:4. Mainly due to the effort of N.Zisis (6) and C.Tapoutos (8) Greeks reduced the bulge. V.Spanoulis (5) and K.Kaimakoglou (2) added more to make it 21:23 at the end of the quarter. Both the teams entered the 2nd fighting closely. After 5 min played K.Kaimakouglu tied the score at 30:30 for Greece. Yugoslavian team managed to come back to their narrow lead 34:30, 40:35, but Greece didn't allow the opponents to go far ahead. B.Sekulic's far-range shot at the end of the period increased the gap to 45:38. The quarter finished at 47:40 with Yugoslavia still in front. After the halftime break the Yugoslavians increased the gap to 10 - 52:42. Despite N.Zisis' (21) far-range efforts to fight back, Yugoslavian players went on 73:58 crushing Greek defense and ended up the period at 76:66. In the final part of the game the Yugoslav players added more force to their defense to allow only 5 successful buckets for the Greek side  -  85:71. Though several errant decisions of the Yugoslavian team provided the Greeks with the opportunity to come back 85:80. With 40 sec to go on K.Tapoutos (25) dunked successfully to make it 91:88. Yet V.Spanoulis missed 2 foul shots out of 3 to lose all hopes for a victory. B.Sekulic ended up making efficient foul shots to celebrate a 93:89 victory.
N.Keramefs, the Head Coach of Greek NT: "Today 2 strongest teams of the group met. We tried to defend actively from the very first minutes of the game, yet failed in offense. Yugoslavians, on the contrary, shot precisely, especially far-range shots. We had a chance to win, though didn't use it."
V.Spanoulis, Greek NT: "We were well prepared for this match, yet failed in certain points. We'll do our best in the following game."
J.Arsic, the Head Coach of Yugoslavian NT: "We played a good game today. The players were concentrated enough. But at the end of the game we lost the concentration and started doing mistakes. Anyway, the most important is the victory."
M.Aleksic, Yugoslavian NT: "We'd analyzed the Greek team and expected a tough game. We complicated things at the end of the game by a couple of mistakes. Now we feel satisfied to get 3rd victory out of 3 games."
Yugoslavia (23+24+29+17): Bakic 19, Krstic 19 - 9/12 FG + 13 rbs, Sekulic 16 + 8 rbs, Popovic 14 + 8 rbs + 7 as, Aleksic 12, Jevdic 6, Koljevic 3, Pavlovic 2, Jovanovic 2
Greece (21+19+26+23): Zisis 25 - 5/8 3FG, Tapoutos 21 - 8/18 FG, Spanoulis 14, Gizogiannis 14, Kaimakoglou 6, Tsiakos 3, Bourousis 2, Georgalis 2, Misiakos 2

  Big win for Italy over Turkey - Jul 28, 2002 - by Yarone Arbel
Group A: Italy 100 - Turkey 68
The Turkish NT has suffered another defeat being knocked down by the Italian squad 100:68. From the very beginning of the game Italian players started picking points to gain a solid lead over the Turkish team 27:18. Presenting weak performance E.Arslan (3) and C.Ozer (2) left their team lacking behind considerably. Even a more active play of E.Veyseloglu (6) couldn't make profits for the Turkish side. After 15 min played the Italians led safely 34:24 mainly thanks to the efforts of L.Garri (10). C.Ozer collected strength to start getting closer, yet quick Italian players fought back to rebuild the lead 48:35 at the halftime. The Turkish team managed to appear closer 46:54 after several successful attempts by E.Arslan (10) and E.Veyseloglu in the 25 min of the match. Making changes in defense they succeeded to get as near as 7 points  -  54:61. However, at the end of the period the Italians crushed all the opponents' efforts to run away 68:56. In the midst of the 4th R.Fultz opened up a 3-point artillery to make it 80:58 and soon the Italians achieved the game high difference of 25 100:65. The game ended with a considerable win of Italian players 100:68. O.Karakas, Manager of Turkish NT: "Congratulations to the Italian team. We haven't any idea to lose the game as we started. I'm here as an ambassador of the Turkish team: the coaches and the players refused to come to the press conference as the official website of the Championship didn't publish our criticism we expressed regarding the referees."
M.Sanguettoli, Assistant Coach of Italian NT: "After our unsuccessful game yesterday we concentrated enough, improved the defense, which guaranteed this win."
L.Garri, Italian NT: "After the yesterday's loss we had to considerate our defense, which was really poor. We were better prepared today for this fight and succeeded in far-range shots. We're glad with this victory and ready to fight bravely against Yugoslavia and Lithuania."
Italy (27+21+20+32): Garri 19 + 10 rbs, Zacchetti 15, Sottana 14, Flamini 9, Mancinelli 8, Fultz 8, Brkic 8, Giachetti 7, Barlera 6, Infante 4, Gigli 2
Turkey (18+17+21+12): Arslan 14, Ozer 14, Veyseloglu 12, Ekmen 8, Yoldas 5, Okay 5, Akin 5, Ozdemir 3, Yilmaz 2

  Perfect Slovenia - Jul 28, 2002 - by Yarone Arbel


Group A: Slovenia 67 - Lithuania 64
Lithuanian Youth National Team has suffered the 3rd defeat in a row after a close fight against Slovenians 64:67. S.Kuzminskas' brilliant performance opened up the 1st quarter of the match. Scoring 10 pts in 7 min he made the score 12:14. In the 2nd half of the game Lithuanians got to lead 17:14, despite the fact, Slovenians ended up winning 21:19. Lithuanian opponents kept a 4-point advantage at the beginning of the 2nd period  -  26:22. But soon the host players managed to outweigh the result 27:26 after S.Kuzminskas' two followed Simas Jasaitis (199-F/G-82) far-range shot. Slovenians quickly fought up to even the score 30:30. Tomas Delininkaitis (190-G-82) hit another one to regain the lead for Lithuania 33:30, yet the quarter ended at 35:33. Unfortunately, the Lithuanian team didn't succeed to erase a 2  -  4  -  point deficit in the last period as well  -  48:52. Errant foul shots made the things clumsy for the host squad. In the 37th min of the fight Tomas Delininkaitis (190-G-82) increased the gap to 61:54. V.Peciukas, S.Kuzminskas and T.Gaidamavicius' trio brought the Liths to a narrow 1-point gap 62:63. Following Jasaitis' hit finally outweighed the score 64:63. With 14 sec remaining Erazem Lorbek (210-F/C-84) led Slovenians ahead 65:64. Lithuanians offensive foul followed by two precise foul shots from Capin settled down a 67:64 victory for Slovenian side.
R.Endrijaitis, the Head Coach of Lithuanian NT: "We've improved our defense, though not enough. We made too many mistakes, missed a number of important shots. In general our scoring efficiency was rather weak. Even some standard plays didn't help at the end."
S.Kuzminskas, Lithuanian NT: "We tried as much as we could, unfortunately, we were missing too many shots. Also we didn't deal with B.Udrih."
T.Krump, Head of Slovenian Delegation: "Lithuanians did all their best. They won in rebounds and that could have been their key to a victory. But last minute shots of Lorbek and Capin were fatal. I'd like to express my gratitude for this wonderful tournament and wish Lithuanian team to qualify for the Quarterfinal stage."
A.Vujacic, Slovenian NT: "It was a difficult game. We won due to our good defense system. Obviously, we were luckier at the end of the game. "
Slovenia (21+12+15+19): Udrih 19, E. Lorbek 17 - 8/14 FG, Capin 9, Vujacic 8, Mucic 5, Slokar 5, Bursic 2, Zagorac 2
Lithuania (19+16+9+20): Kuzminskas 17 + 13 rbs, Delininkaitis 16 + 7 to,  Peciukas 8, Klimavicius 6, Jasaitis 5, Kieza 4, Gaidamavicius 4, Dipartas 1, Ciukinas 1

  French NT: sweet revenge - Jul 27, 2002 - by Eurobasket


The French National team members entered the game bravely. After 1:20 played they took a 7:0 lead due to their pressing defense against the Russians. D.Karpov's dunk opened the score for the Russian team 8:2. Despite hard efforts of A.Zozouline, the gap kept increasing for the French side  -  19:9. With 3 min left B.Diaw dunked impressively to increase the score to 23:9 and finish the quarter at 29:17.
Applying whole-court-defense the Russians went into the 2nd. S.Monia dunked first two to turn the score to 29:19. His unexpected 3rd foul and V.Chriapa's technical made the things clumsy for the Russian squad. The tense started rising. Both the teams exchanged impressive blocks, though still the French youngsters kept controlling the situation on the courts leading 38:24. Getting profit from several mistakes in the Russian defense, the French squad increased the advantage to 49:34.
Even after the halftime break the Russians didn't manage to fight back: 53:39. By the midst of the quarter the difference in score increased to 20  -  61:41. Taking all their strength the Russians spurted up to get closer 65:53, but that was all the players managed to do. The period finished at 71:56.
S.Monia entered the last quarter with a dunk. Assisted by 216cm height S.Soldatov they built a stone wall to hold the spurty France players who still were not to give up  -  78:63. With 3 min remaining M.Pietru exploded with a dunk  -  show to make the things more and more clear for the Russian team. Despite the Russians' efforts to reduce the crushing score, the France players left victoriously 88:75.
V.Radionov, the Head Coach of Russian NT: "We got asleep after the yesterdays' crushing loss of the French team. Our key-players performed poorly. We lost a tactical as well as physical game."
R.Brilliant, the Head Coach of French NT: "We analyzed the Russian team properly. Our goal was to play aggressively forcing numerous fouls. We did that as 3 leaders of the Russian team received 3 fouls each. We are to continue in the same way."
R.Turiaf, French NT: "We stick to coach's decisions and that helped us. We should follow strict discipline in the following games as well."
France - Russia 88-75
France: Mickael Pietrus (198-F-82) 21, Turiaf 20, Evtimov 13, Diawara 7, Diaw 7, Yango 6, Nijean 4, Chelle 4, Szasczak 4
Russia: Sergei Bykov 23, Zozouline 13, Monya 12, Zelenski 8, Baranov 6, Khryapa 5, Karpov 4, Babourine 3, Gorolevski 1

  Lithuania couldn't hold the Greek marksmen - Jul 27, 2002 - by Eurobasket


The 6th European Championship for Young Men host Lithuania suffered the 2nd defeat as it lost to Greek youngsters 93:104.
Greek players got off to a successful start leading 5:0 at the beginning of the game. Soon Delinikaitis' 5 successive points tied the score at 5:5. Another 2 by Jasaitis brought Lithuanians forwards 7:5. However, following mistakes of the Lithuanian players gave Greeks another possibility to burst to a solid lead 31:20, mainly due to the efforts of Zisis (13) and Spanoulis (8). The quarter finished at 34:25 with Greeks ahead.
The Lithuanian team made a 9:0 run to tie the score at 38:38 in the 2nd. Though making errant decisions in offense as well as defense they gave a way to the Greek team once more: 48:42. Serapinas' 3-point shot was answered by a three from the Greek side to make the score 46:51 at the half time.
After the break Lithuanians made a spurt to outweigh the result 54:53 and enter into uncompromising battle. In the 27th min of the fight the guests from Greece took over the Lithuanians 81:67, thanks to 5 far-range shots in a row of the Greek players (Spanoulis and Zisis 21 pts each). The period ended with a 10-point margin 73:83.
Even in the last quarter all the Lithuanians' efforts were destroyed by shooting artillery of the Greeks. Reducing the score to 9 points was the only thing Lithuanians managed to do. The Greeks finished triumphantly 104:93.
R.Endrijaitis, the Head Coach of Lithuanian NT: "The main reason of our loss was weak defense. We didn't manage to resist the Greek marksmen shots. Despite the loss we are still determined to qualify for the next round."
A.Kieza, Lithuanian NT: "Our defense is rather weak, but still we have 3 games ahead. We'll try to improve our play, nothing's been lost yet."
N.Keramefs, the Head Coach of Greek NT: "We had to prove our power on the courts after the loss to Italy. We were followed by success today. I'm surprised by such shooting efficiency of my team."
N.Zisis, Greek NT: "Yesterday I made a fatal mistake in the game against Italy, so today I was especially motivated to work hard. I'm satisfied with the result."
Greece - Lithuania 104-93
Greece: Nikolaos Zisis (195-G-83) 29, Vasilis Spanoulis 26, Tapoutos 14, Gizogiannis 13, Tsiakos 8, Kaimakoglou 6, Georgalis 5, Bourousis 3
Lithuania: Jasaitis 19, Delininkaitis 18, Kieza 13, Serapinas 10, Kuzminskas 9, Gaidamavicius 8, Ciukinas 8, Peciukas 6, Klimavicius 2

  Croatia builds the wall of defense - Jul 27, 2002 - by Eurobasket


Fighting bravely for the ¾ of the match the Israeli players didn't resist Croatia losing the game 76:95.
K.Loncar and M.Rozic opened up the scores for Croatian side in the first minutes of the game 4:2. M.Popovic added more force to start breaking the opponents' defense. Yet, after 3:30 min played the Israeli players' spurted up to outscore the opponents for the first time 7:8. Despite the fact much shorter Israel players found it difficult against the Croatian giants. Due to K.Loncar's successful attacks the Croatians fought back 18:12 and finished the period 25:21.
M.Popovic continued performing successfully at the beginning of the 2nd quarter. His one more far-range shot brought Croatians to 28:23. However, A.Nanikashvily hurried up to score efficiently and get closer 34:30. Croatian side still managed to keep ahead and left 47:43 for the break.
Quick spurts of the Croatian players opened up the 3rd to make the score 52:43. But O.Shaashoua appeared on time to reduce the score 54:52 for Israel. Even changing the defensive system the Croatians couldn't run away as the Israeli players tied the score at 58:58 and burst out 60:61. N.Cuzela was to save the situation. Hitting two threes he got back the advantage 66:61 for Croatian side.
After 2 min played in the 4th quarter K.Loncar helped to increase the difference to 74:65. Another 2 hits by Cuzela reached the game high 82:69. Continuing at the same pace, the Croats step  -  by  -  step climbed in to a 95:76 victory.
S.Druker, the Head Coach of Israeli NT: "We played much better than yesterday, but that was not enough. We made too many mistakes."
L.Milanovic, the Assistant Coach of Croatian NT: "We are satisfied with our defense. If we continue on the same note, we'll have big chances against the French team."
Croatia - Israel 95-76
Croatia: Marko Popovic (185-G-82) 27, Kresimir Loncar 17, Cuzela 15, Omerhodzic 10, Rozic 7, Kurilic 7, Gligora 5, Spralja 5, Trepalovac 2
Israel: Uriel Marko 15, Pnini 13, Gilad 13, Limonad 11, Nanikashvili 8, Shaashoua 6

  Turkish team missed a buzzer three - Jul 27, 2002 - by Eurobasket


Yugoslavian Youth National Team hardly escaped against the Turkish opponents 90:87.
Both the teams stared a more o less equal fight in the first minutes of the game: 8:7. An 8-point gap of the Yugoslavian players (18:10) was soon answered by several attacks of the Turkish team to go forwards 21:18 at the 8th min of the game. Holding up tightly the Turkish players managed to resist at the end of the period 28:26.
At the beginning of the 2nd the Turkish team kept dominating the courts: 37:33. Yet, the Yugoslavian players didn't agree with the tempo and burst out 39:37 over the opponents. Adding more speed the Turkish side caught up, moreover, making use of some errant decisions of their opponents they regained the lead 47:42 at the halftime.
Brilliant performance of C.Ozer (29) led the Turkish squad throughout the 3rd: 53:49, 55:54, 73:65. Making defense more active, the Yugoslavian players tried to fight back, though couldn't find a way to the basket. After the period the Turkish side was still ahead 76:69.
The situation changed in the 4th quarter as the opponents form Yugoslavia outweighed the result 77:76. After one more far-range shot from N.Koljevic they led by 4 83:79. Several mistakes of the Turkish players kept Yugoslavs ahead. C.Ozer (33) added another three to get close 86:85. With 1 min remaining the Turkish side performed tough defense to prevent the Yugoslavian players from scoring. With the score 88:87 Ozer missed an important three to give a way to Yugoslavian opponents. Buzzer-beater three from the Turkish side missed to hit the basket to result in final loss 90:87 after two successful fouls of the Yugoslavian players.
I.Beles, the Assistant Coach of Turkish NT: "It was tough to play against Yugoslavians, famous basketball school representatives. 3 games left to play in the group. We have to win them."
C.Ozer, Turkish NT: "I think we played a good game today. Now we need only the victories."
J.Arsic, the Head Coach of Yugoslavian NT: "We played poor defense in the first half of the game, moreover, had problems with small Turkish players rebounding efficiently. However, we managed to improve our defense in the second half, which led us to the victory."
N.Krstic, Yugoslavian NT: "We won an important game. Starting poorly at the beginning, we concentrated later on. Now we have to think about the upcoming games."
Yugoslavia - Turkey 90-87
Yugoslavia: Ivan Koljevic (186-G-84, agent: Cornstein Marc) 17, Nenad Krstic 16, Sekulic 11, Bakic 11, Koprivica 11, Popovic 11, Jovanovic 7, Aleksic 6
Turkey: Cevher Ozer 33, Veyseloglu 15, Ekmen 12, Akin 8, Arslan 8, Ozdemir 6, Yoldas 2, Yilmaz 2, Biyik 1

  Slovenia got their second victory - July 27, 2002 - by Eurobasket

Beno Udrih

Slovenia - Italy 100-84
Slovenia: Erazem Lorbek 22, Beno Udrih (194-G-82, agent: Balducci Maurizio) 21, Strnad, Slokar 11, Vujacic 15, Domem Lorbek, Ivaskovic 8, Bursic 14, S.Zagorac 2, Zupan 7, Capin, Mucic, .
Italy: Garri 24, Brkic 21, Zacchetti 11, Flamini 7, Sottana 6, Formenti 4, Barlera 4, Giachetti 2, Mancinelli 2, Fultz 2, Infante 1

  Spain still undefeated - Jul 27, 2002 - by Eurobasket


Ukraine - Spain 71-75
Ukraine: Boycko 9, Onufriyev 9, Shaposhnykov 12, Nerush 4, Zagaynov 3; Shkurupiy 4, Malysh 9, Shevchenkon, Gubenko 2, Kozlov, Shkur 4, Lishchuk 15.
Spain: Cortaberria 3, Guerra 4, Llorente 5, Fran Vazquez (209-C-83) 18, Guillermo Rubio (202-C-82) 10; Jordi Grimau (193-G-83) 10, Miso 7, Marin 2, Mena, Martinez 4, Triguero 4, Albert Miralles (209-C-82) 8.

  Slovenia  -  the 1st step to the success - Jul 27, 2002 - by Eurobasket


Turkey - Slovenia 89-91
Turkey: Arslan 28, Okay 18, Veyseloglu 13, Akin 8, Ekmen 8, Yoldas 3, Biyik 2, Ozer 2
Slovenia: Alexander Vujacic (199-G-84, agent: Balducci Maurizio) 19, Erazem Lorbek (210-F/C-84) 17, Capin 13, Slokar 12, Udrih 11, Ivaskovic 9, Bursic 6, Zagorac 2, Mucic 2
Slovenian team is very motivated after they won just few days ago silver at Championships for juniors. Erazem Lorbek (210-F/C-84) is again one of the stars of Slovenian team and the tournament. This time he has strong support of Alexander Vujacic (199-G-84, agent: Balducci Maurizio).
Slovenian Youth National Team has started victoriously. In the 1st dramatic game of 6th European Championship for Young Men they defeated Turkish youngsters 91:89.
Slovenians got off to a successful start from the very beginning of the fight. After 5 min played they gained a solid 14:2 win. 18-year-old forward E.Lorbek form UNION OLIMPIJA scored half of buckets (6) for the Slovenian side.
E.Arslan (EFES PILSEN) profited a lot for the Turkish team. Due to his several efficient attacks they reduced the gap to 16:15.
Though still at the beginning of the 2nd quarter Slovenians increased their advantage to 15: 30:15, 34:19. Despite the key-players  -  B.Udrich (8) and E.Lorbek's (6) absence on the courts, the opponents didn't manage to improve their attacks. Their far-range spurts in the last min of the half made the score 44:33.
After the half time the Turkish players continued on the same note and reduced the difference to 40:49. Yet Slovenians didn't step aside to make it 60:42. Even E.Arslan's efficient play (22) didn't help the Turks to get up with the Slovenian team as they finished the 3rd still lacking behind 60:74.
True 3-point shots from E.Arslan and I.Akai opened up the final one to get dangerously close 71:78. Yet a precise play of the Slovenians ended up the game at 89:91.
M.Ozgul, the Head Coach of Turkish NT: "The very beginning of the game was rather unsuccessful. In the midst of the 2nd we managed to even the game due to our improved defense. Though there was lack of time at the end to outweigh the result."
E.Arslan, Turkish NT: "After an unsuccessful beginning we managed to reduce the deficit of 20 points. That required much strength we felt short off for the spurt. We lost but still our goal is to get to the Quarterfinals."
M.Becirovic, the Head Coach of Slovenian NT: "We started well the way we were used to, quite aggressively. But in the 2nd half of the game we got too relaxed, especially in defense, making easy far-range shots for our opponents."
B.Udrih, Slovenian NT: "We should put much effort to compete at such a level, especially in defense and rebounding."
by Youthbasket

  Lithuanians yield to Yugoslavian youngsters - Jul 27, 2002 - by Eurobasket


Lithuania - Yugoslavia 68-79
Lithuania: Delininkaitis 12, Jasaitis 9, Kuzminskas 8, Serapinas 7, Klimavicius 7, Gaidamavicius 6, Ciukinas 6, Peciukas 5, Kieza 4, Pociukonis 4
Yugoslavia: Blagota Sekulic (209-C/F-82) 18, Bojan Bakic 13, Nenad Krstic 13
Host team Lithuania lost to favorite Yugoslavia. However many specialists predicted that the game could end with completely different results. The leading players in Yugoslavian team were so far Blagota Sekulic (209-C/F-82), Bojan Bakic, and Nenad Krstic.
Lithuanian youngsters didn't resist the Yugoslavian force 68:79 in their first game of the Championship in Kaunas (Lithuania).
Tough Yugoslavian defense started preventing the Lithuanians from precise attacks at the beginning of the game. Already in the 6th min of the 1st quarter S.Kuzminskas, Lithuanian key-force under the boards got the 3rd foul, which made the game rather swingy: 3:2, 3:6, 9:10, 14:10. At the end of the period the hosts managed to gain an 8-point lead 19:11 and ended up 21:14.
4th Kuzminskas' foul early into the midst of the 2nd unbalanced the Lithuanian team and Yugoslavians started to catch up with the opponents 27:26 quickly. Adding more force to the game the Lithuanians spurted up 14:4 to lead the quarter 41:30.
The hosts of the game kept their advantage of 3-7 points in the 3rd period. Yet brilliant performance of N.Krstic outweighed the result 49:47 in the 26 min. Early loss of major force  -  Kuzminskas and Delininkaitis  -  helped the Yugoslavian team to move forwards 62:59.
Lithuanians still didn't lay down the arms. In the 36 min of the fight S.Jasaitis' efficient bucket tied the score at 66:66. But several errant decisions in offense gave the Yugoslavians their way 70:66. Adding more force to defense the guests finished with a 79:68 win.
R.Endrijaitis, the Head Coach of Lithuanian NT: "We've analyzed the opponents well before the game, all their strong sides  -  precise shots, tough offense… We played good defense but didn't manage to stop B.Bakic's far-range shots. At the end of the game we failed in easy scores."
T.Delininkaitis, Lithuanian NT: "It's a pity we lacked some success. Any way this loss won't influence our further performance."
J.Arsic, Yugoslavian NT: "The players were too much worried in the beginning of the game. Moreover, half of them still lack some international experience. After the halftime we managed to improve our defense and overcame a really powerful team."
B.Popovic, Yugoslavian NT: "We expected the first game to be tough as we were to play against the hosts of the court. Though we had strong motivation to win. Our better offense as well as defense at the second half helped us to win."
by Youthbasket

  Italians celebrating their first victory - Jul 27, 2002 - by Eurobasket


Italy - Greece 82-81
Italy: Stefano Mancinelli (202-F-83, agent: Santrolli Dario) 17, Robert Fultz 13, Luca Garri 12, Joel Zacchetti 11, Barlera 10, Sottana 6, Giachetti 5, Brkic 4, Flamini 3, Infante 1
Greece: Spanoulis 16, Kaimakoglou 14, Tapoutos 12, Zisis 9, Gizogiannis 9, Misiakos 8, Georgalis 7, Tsiakos 6
Italian Youth National Team got a narrow escape against the Greeks 82:81 in a close and dramatic fight to end up the 1st day of the 6th European Championship for Young Men in Kaunas (Lithuania).
The Italian team entered the game successfully, though Greeks spurted up to even the game and finished with a tiny 2-point loss 22:20 after the 1st quarter.
The 2nd one opened up with a close fight between the teams: 25:25, 30:28, 32:30. Outstanding performance of the Italian L.Garri (12) increased the gap for the Italians 38:30. However, quick run of the Greek players outweighed the score 38:40. The last minutes of the period turned to be more efficient for the Italian representatives as the halftime ended at 42:40.
After the break the Italians increased the difference to 6, though by the midst of the quarter the Greek NT outscored the opponents 52:50 and got even further 61:55 in the 28 min. The Italian team managed to tie the score 61:61 as they quickly took over the initiative resulting in several precise attacks.
A tense and persistent fight went into the 4th period  -  73:73 in the 35th min. Quick Italian players' spurt (R.Fultz 13, S.Mancineli 17) brought their team ahead 78:73. Yet Greeks didn't agree to the pace and stick to 78:79. Another 4 buckets from S.Mancineli made the victory more realistic for the Italian squad as the Greeks didn't manage to outscore. The game ended with 82:81 with Italian squad celebrating the win.
N.Keramefs, the Head Coach of Greek NT: "We came here with the hope of interesting games. That was the case today. The game was very close and persistent. Our defense was rather problematic as we got "killed" by far-range shots of our opponents. I feel disappointed with the loss but hope to perform much better in the following games."
G.Tsiakos, Greek NT: "We lacked success at the end of the match. I hope for a better play in the following games."
V.Deraffaele, the Assistant Coach of Italian NT: "We were dominating the game for the whole 40 min. Our key to the victory was tough work in defense. We are really happy about our win against strong opponents."
S.Flamini, Italian NT: "The game was very tough. I agree with the coach that defense is very important to win the game. I believe in our better performance  -  that's our goal."
by Youthbasket Mancinelli (202-F-83, agent: Santrolli Dario) (202-F-83, agent: Santrolli Dario)

  Ukraine beats Israel - Jul 27, 2002 - by Eurobasket
Israel - Ukraine 64-76


Israel: Eran Yitzhak (196-G-82) 16, Oded Shaasuah (190-G-82, agent: Zilberman Avi) 12, Pnini 11, Marko 7, Nanikashvili 6, Gilad 5, Matta 4, Menashe 3
Ukraine: Alexei Onufriev (200-F-82) 16, Alexandr Nerush (191-G-83) 11, Aleksandr Shaposhnikov (200-F-82) 10, Malysh 10, Sokur 9, Lishchuk 9, Boyko 8, Shkurupiy 3
The Ukrainian Youth National team outscored Israel 76:64 in the 1st game of 6th Youth Eurochamps in Alytus (Lithuania).
More active Israeli players burst out 6:2 already in the first minutes of the match. But thanks to O.Nerush efficient 3-point shot, The Ukrainians took over the initiative 6:8 in the 3rd min of the period. A.Onufriev continued up the spurt to increase the gap to 6:12 for Ukrainian players. Attempted offensive attacks of the Israeli squad were soon prevented by the Ukrainian "wall" under he baskets  -  S.Lishchuk (13 rbs, 9 pts).
Due to hard efforts the opponents from Israel managed to get closer 21:24, though Ukrainians quickly fought back 28:38 at the halftime. Their strong force under the boards  -  S.Lishchouk, A.Malysh - kept preventing Israel from aggressive attacks up to the very end of the game. Dominating obviously on the court Ukrainian youngsters ended victoriously 76:64.
S.Druker, the Head Coach of Israel NT: "It was the very first game of the Championship  -  that's the reason of our nervous play. The main reason of our loss  -  our weak rebounding. But still I think we are better prepared. We are to prove this in the following match."
E.Taslitskiy, the Head Coach of Ukrainian NT: "We were eager to win. Our nervousness resulted in low foul percentage."
A.Aleksandr Shaposhnikov (200-F-82), Ukrainian NT: "There is a very good atmosphere in our team, that helped us much to win this game."
by Youthbasket

  Russia: too strong to hold - Jul 27, 2002 - by Eurobasket


Russia - Croatia 100-93
Russia: Viktor Khryapa (205-F/G-82) 22, Sergei Monya 19, Denis Karpov 19, Zazouline 13, Baranov 10, Adamu 9, Bykov 5, Zelenski 2, Babourine 1
Croatia: Marko Popovic 36, Cuzela 17, Loncar 15, Rozic 11, Gligora 10, Kurilic 4
Russia: too strong to hold
Both the teams exchanged several successful attacks at the beginning of the match and the score got to 14:11 for the Russian team by the midst of the period. The opponents, though, demonstrated a solid far-range game. S.Monia exploded in the Russian side scoring 18 pts and making 5 rbs by the half time.
Croatia didn't manage to stop good jumper Russians' defense even with the help of giant K.Loncar. Due to hard efforts of Monia, Chriapa and Karpov, the Russians finished 52:44 at the half time.
The Russian trio - show continued into the 3rd. Thanks to Popovic's (36) brilliant play, Croatians got some closer 81:88 with 3 min remaining on the game clock. He added another 2 to decrease the difference to tiny 1  -  88:89. Yet Karpov burst out with a 3-throw to get a more safe lead 92:88. Even numerous fouls of the Croatian players at the end of the match didn't help them to catch up and the Russians won 100:93.
D.Bajkovic, the Head Coach of Croatian NT: "First of all congratulations to the Russian team. They demonstrated a superb performance. Unfortunately our defense was poor today as we let our opponents a number of easy scores. We must improve for the next game."
V.Radionov, the Head Coach of Russian NT: "I give credit to our forwards. They demonstrated a brilliant performance. The guards, however, didn't use all their effort. I expect some more initiative in the following match."
S.Monia, Russian NT: "We are glad about our beautiful play. I think we got too relaxed at the end of the game."
by Youthbasket

  Spain beat France in Day 1 - Jul 27, 2002 - by Eurobasket
Spain - France 89-53
Spain: Albert Miralles 19, Kortabarria 18, Miso 14, Rubio 11, Martin 7, Llorente 7, Vazquez 5, Triguero 4, Guerra 2, Martinez 2
France: Michael Pietrus 14, Turiaf 12, Evtimov 11, Yango 5, Diawara 4, Doreau 2, Nijean 2, Chelle 2, Szasczak 1

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