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Final Standings

Group A
8.Czech R.

Group Standings

Group A
1.Russia 4-1
2.Israel 3-2
3.Czech R. 2-3
4.Latvia 2-3
5.Spain 2-3
6.Croatia 2-3
Group B
1.Greece 4-1
2.Lithuania 4-1
3.Serbia 4-1
4.Slovenia 2-3
5.Ukraine 1-4
6.Belarus 1-4

Stats Leaders

1.Vasileiad.,GRE 25.5
2.Halperin, ISR 20.4
3.Koljevic, SRB 20.4
4.Veremey.,BLR 20,0
5.Gasol, ESP 18.3
1.Jankunas, LTU 12.1
2.Vereme.,BLR 11.0
3.Sada, ESP 9.1
4.Gasol, ESP 8.1
5.Jahovics, LAT 7.8
1.Sada, ESP 4.3
2.Jomantas, LTU 3.9
3.Dyatlowsky, UKR 3.9
4.Cosic, CRO 3.3
5.Xanthopo.,GRE 3.1

Slovenian Erazem Lorbek was MVP of the tournament (Photo: FIBA)

Slovenia won European Championships U20 2004 (Photo: FIBA)

All-Star Team of the tournament (Photo: FIBA)

  U20 Men All Star Team and MVP
By Jon Ingram (FIBA)
12 teams, 144 players but only 5 can make the All-Star team. At the Trans Eural Gas European Championship for U20 Men the five were Yotam Halperin (ISR), Ivan Koljevic (SRB), Kostas Vasileiadis (GRE) Linas Kleiza (LTU) and Erazem Lorbek (SLO).
It was clear that the MVP race was between Halperin and Lorbek and it was Lorbek who received the award thanks to his side's victory in the gold medal game.
Halperin was unlucky not to win the competition's top individual award. He played to his usual high standards throughout the tournament, averaging a team high 20.4 ppg.
But it was his quarter and semi-final performances that set him apart.
After badly spraining an ankle, Halperin was limited to shooting from the outside in both games. He made 10/13 three-pointers, including 32 points in the semi-final victory against Greece.
Another player who displayed a lethal shooting touch was Koljevic. Undersized for the 2 guard position (he is 186 cm) he makes up for his lack of height with his ability to shoot the ball.
He made 52% of his 3-point shots in the tournament and 64% of his 2-point shots, putting up 20.4 ppg for Serbia & Montenegro.
Linas Kleiza followed a great showing at the 2003 World Championship for U19 Men with another quality tournament here in Brno. He was once again Lithuania's top scorer (17.5 ppg) and recorded a competition high 36 points against Ukraine in the first round.
While Kleiza had the single game high, Vasileiadis was the competition's top overall scorer. He averaged 25.5 ppg in 8 games for Greece and broke the 30-point barrier twice, against Ukraine (32) and Serbia & Montenegro (33).
Last, but very much not least, was the All-Star center and MVP, Erazem Lorbek. Lorbek earned the same title at the 2002 European Championship for U18 Men, but with a different kind of performance.
In 2002, Lorbek dominated, leading the competition in both scoring and rebounding. In 2004, he picked his moments to shine. Luckily for Slovenia, he chose well and his 2 outstanding performances came in the quarters and semis.
Lorbek was unstoppable against Russia in the quarters and he scored 31 points in the 74:67 win. In the semis, he spearheaded a huge win over Lithuania, this time netting 26 points in just 29 minutes. 


Slovenia - Israel 66-61 (20-8; 30-32; 45-50)
Slovenia: Jure Mocnik 15+4as, E.Lorbeck 15+8reb, Rizvic 10+13reb...
Israel: Limonad 14, Ermichin 13+4reb, Eliyahu 11...

Slovenia is the 2004 European Champions for U20 Men. In 2002 they suffered heartbreak, losing in desperately close fashion to Croatia, who made 2 free throws at the buzzer to win 74:72.
In 2004, it was Slovenia who closed the game by making not only several clutch shots, but 6 free throws in the last 30 seconds to close out Israel.

"The guys that lost in Germany (in 2002) told us that we have to win this one for them. In the last two minutes we gave a big team effort, and won the game," said Slovenian forward Sasa Zagorac.

Neither Israel nor Slovenia found their top form in the final, but what the game lacked in quality it made up for in sheer excitement.

Israel had their chances to win and actually led the game for the best part of 20 minutes. But as has been Slovenia's trademark in this competition, they peaked just at the perfect time and they took their first lead of the second half with 33 seconds to go.

Point guard Jure Jure Mocnik  made probably the 3 most important plays of his life in the last minute. First he hit a three to tie the game at 58:58. He followed that with a drive that gave Slovenia the lead, 60:59, and capped that with 2 free throws to nail 7 points in 30 seconds which effectively won the game for his team.

"It's an amazing feeling. After we lost the finals in the Juniors we had to win this one. We played like a team the whole time. I fouled out but my teammates did a great great job," said Erazem Lorbek, who was elected tournament MVP.

Israel gave 110% in the game and can hold their heads high with the performance. They came back from a terrible start in which they trailed 16:4 after 5 minutes of play in the first quarter.

Just as it looked as though Slovenia would run away with the game, Israel found the kind of togetherness which has marked their run to the final.

Behind by 12 points after the opening period, they reeled off 13 straight to open the second. Lior Eliyahu continued his streak of form from the semis and 2 free throws from Igor Simin gave Israel their first lead, 20:21.

Both sides traded baskets for the remainder of the first half, but it was Israel who nosed ahead, 30:32 at the break.

It was Israel who carried over the momentum from their second quarter comeback (they outscored Slovenia 10-24 in the period). Interestingly enough, it was not until midway through the third that Yotmar Halperin scored his first points of the game. His offensive talents were clearly not needed and he was happy to sit back and let his team-mates shoulder the load.

Halperin's first scoring contribution came on a steal and breakaway lay-up. He followed that with another steal and assist to Vladi Eyrmishin that capped an 8:0 run and Israel led by 12 points, 33:45.

Slovenia's comeback was steady rather than spectacular.

They chipped away at Israel's lead and by the end of the third trailed by 5, 45:50.

It was just when they were finding their feet that disaster struck for Slovenia and Erazem Lorbek fouled out. It wasn't clear who would step up for the Slovenians on offense, but Sasa Zagorac hit a jump shot and 2 free throws and the lead was just three, 55:58.

It was at that point that Jure Mocnik  weighed in. His play up until that point had been patchy at best, and he had made just 2/6 free throws in the 4th period. Still, when he found himself behind the 3-point line with acres of space (he even had time to take a dribble before shooting), he didn't hesitate. His shot found nothing but net and the game was tied, 58:58.

"I can't explain what I feel now. it's an incredible feeling," said Jure Mocnik  after the game.

"My coach told me just to keep playing like I play in Slovenia, and the shots I took went in."

Israel answered with a free throw but Jure Mocnik  replied with a drive and basket and Slovenia had the lead with 33 seconds to go.

Unfortunately for Israel, Raviv Limonad got a bit too enthusiastic on his foul attempt and he was called for an intentional on Jure Mocnik .

The Slovenian point guard made both, Slovenia retained possession and Israel was forced to foul once again. The intentional foul was without a doubt the key play of the game, and Slovenia held their nerve to hit 6/6 free throws to hold on for gold.

Our team has so many leaders - my brother Domen, Jure Jure Mocnik, they carried us to the win," added Lorbek

"We managed to stop Halperin but he's a big player. We are the best team in this championship."

Lorbek finished as the top scorer for Slovenia, although he was limited to 29 minutes before fouling out. He had 15 points while Jure Mocnik  also finished with 15.

Israel had a poor shooting night and made just 38% of their field goal attempts (22/57). Limonad top scored with 14 but Halperin could only manage 8 on 2/12 shooting. After 2 heroic performances with a badly sprained ankle, Halperin couldn't rescue his team for the third time in 3 games.


Lithuania - Greece 92-63 (20-19; 47-37; 67-49)

Lıthuanıa: Jomantas 23+6reb, Kleiza 19+6reb, Babrauskas 15+5st, Jankunas 12+18reb...
Greece: Vasileiadis 33+5reb, Vasilopoulos 11+11reb...
 After being on the wrong hands of a drubbing against Slovenia in the semi-finals, Lithuania dished out some punishment of their own in the bronze medal game of the Eural Trans Gas European Championship for U20 Men.

Greece were unfortunate enough to bear the brunt of Lithuania's anger and they went down in spectacular fashion.
These two teams know each other well and met almost exactly one year ago in the semi-final of the World Championship for U19 Men in Thessaloniki, Greece.
Lithuania were the victors on that occasion too, albeit in a much closer encounter, 75:72. Lithuania went on to win a silver medal, while Greece consoled themselves with a bronze.

This time around, however, there is no consolation for Greece.

After disappointing in their semi-final loss to Israel, the Greeks played once again well below their capabilities. Konstantinos Vasileiadis had probably his worst game of the tournament in the semis. Ironically enough, he was at his best against Lithuania, while his team-mates could not match his intensity.

Vasileiadis scored 33 points in the losing effort, but by the midway point of the third period, it was clear that Lithuania was the only team in contention for the bronze medal.
An 8-point halftime lead was turned into 16 by the end of the third and Greece's hopes of medalling in their third consecutive competition (they also won bronze at the 2002 European Championship for U18 Men) were over.
Lithuania rediscovered a scoring touch which had emphatically deserted them against Slovenia. As a team, they made 35/73 (48%) of their field goals while out-rebounding Greece 46-30.
Arturas Jomantas had a great game for Lithuania, scoirng a team-high 23 points on 8/12 shooting. Linas Kleiza was his usual dependable self and finished with 19 points, while Paulius Janjunas recorded his 5th double-double in 8 games, 12 points and 18 rebounds.

Russia - Serbia & Montenegro 86-101 (19-16; 35-31; 57-62)
Russia: Komarovski 22+4st, Keirou 16+8reb, Vyaltsev 12, Kuznetsov 10+5reb...
Serbia: Koljevic 30+5as, markovic 24+15reb, Vukosavljevic 13+9reb, Radenovic 11+4reb, Stajic 10...

Czech Rep. - Latvia 79-100 (14-22; 26-49; 48-76)

Czech R.:
Klimanek 22, Kraus 19+7reb, Steffel 11+6reb... Latvia: Jahovics 26+8reb, Vairogs 15, Sirsnins 14...

Belarus - Ukraine 80-76 (20-18; 35-39; 64-53)

Belarus: Verameyenka 28+13reb, Paliashchuk 20+5reb, Mishukou 13+8reb...
Ukraine: Dyatlovskyy 19+5reb, Gorbenko 19+10reb, Oliynyk 11+4reb...

Spain - Croatia 78-71 (27-15; 45-38; 62-52)

Spain: J.Urtasun 16, Gasol 15, A.Urtasun 14, Huertas 12, Espuna 10+11reb...
Croatia: Pasalic 19+4reb, Banic 15+7reb, Jurjevic 11+4as...



Lithuania - Slovenia 57-97 (11-25; 34-43; 45-82)
Lithuania: Kleiza 12, Dabkus 11+4st, Jankunas 10+8reb...
Slovenia: E.Lorbek 25+6st, Rizvic 17+6reb, D.Lorbek 16...
Slovenia romped into the final of the Eural Trans Gas European Championship for U20 Men by virtue of their demolition of Lithuania in the first semi-final here in Brno.
A lightning quick start from the Slovenians rocked Lithuania to their heels and they were never able to recover. Lithuania have put up 81 ppg here so far in Brno, but suffered today what could only be described as an offensive meltdown, underlined by a 3rd quarter in which they scored only 11 points.

Both Slovenia and Erazaem Lorbek seem to be peaking at the right time. After netting 31 points in the quarters, the 209 cm center was once again unstoppable. He left the game in the 3rd quarter with 26 points to his name and his team up by 30.
Lorbek was the catalyst for Slovenia's first start, but he got significant help inside from fellow center Hasan Rizvic.
Rizvic scored a total of 10 points in Slovenia's last 2 games, but against Lithuania he couldn't miss. He accounted for 11 first quarter points and spearheaded a 25:11 end of period scoreline.
Lithuania were reeling from Slovenia's heavy blow, but the knockout punch was yet to be administered. There were signs of life from Lithuania in the second period as their 2 top scorers Linas Kleiza and Paulius Jasnkunas shouldered the offensive load. They combined for 12 second quarter points and by halftime the Slovenia lead was cut to double-digits, 32:43.
But the third period proved to be their undoing.
Lithuania plumbed the depths of offensive futility in the 3rd quarter. In the opening 8 minutes their only 6 points came on free throws and it was only with under 1-30 to play that they registered their first field goal - a breakaway lay-up by Arturas Jomantas.
While Lithuania couldn't get a basket for love nor money, Slovenia were calmly sinking their shots and pulling further and further out of reach.
A put-back dunk from Lorbek was his last contribution to the game. With over 2 minutes remaining he had already scored 26 points, 13 in the 3rd period. Slovenia's lead had reached 30 points (36:69) and there was no coming back.
The 4th quarter was an opportunity for Slovenian coach Ivan Sunara to empty his bench and all 12 of his players got on the scoresheet. As well as Lorbek's 26, Rizvic had 17 points on 7/8 shooting while Domen Lorbek contributed 16.

Israel - Greece 88-82 (15-13; 36-29; 60-48)
Israel: Yotam Halperin  32+7reb, Limonad 18, Eliyahu 16+6reb...
Greece: Vasileiadis 26+4as, Mavroeidis 22+6reb...
After beating Serbia & Montenegro at the buzzer in the quarter-finals, a strong Greek side stood in the way of Israel and a berth in the final. Once again, Israel faced a size deficit against their opponents and Yotmar Yotam Halperin  was still feeling the effects of his ankle injury.

Yotam Halperin was more mobile than against Serbia & Montenegro, but still restricted to shooting jumpers. Little did it matter. He made all 6 of his three-point attempts as well as 12/14 free throws for a game-high 32 points.
In the quarter-finals, Israel came from behind to win. Against Greece, they led for virtually the entire contest and had to withstand a furious rally in the 4th quarter that went right down to the last seconds.

Although Greece had a very real chance to win, it was a sub par performance from them. They were lacklustre in the opening half and unable to take advantage of their clear inside superiority. 11 offensive rebounds came Greece's way in the first half, yet they only scored 22 points. The shooting was not much better and the team missed 8 three-pointers (2/10) and 9 free throws (7/16).

Israel were not complaining at Greece's profligacy. They took a 7-point lead (36:29) into halftime and after the break were able to consolidate the advantage. Yotam Halperin's third 3-pointer of the contest gave his side a 50:34 lead and Greece looked down and out.

Enter Greek center Dimitrios Mavroeidis.
With star guard Konstantinos Vasileiadis performing well below his best, it was Mavroeidis who carried his team for 15 minutes.
The 208 cm center expertly exploited Israel's inside weakness. He accounted for 11 third quarter points and at the end of the period, the lead was reduced to 14-points, 62:48.
Israel were attacked by a case of “deer in the headlights” syndrome in the 4th and the game swung 360 degrees. Mavroeidis scored the opening 6 points of the quarter and Vasileiadis also came alive. They combined together to outscore Israel 13-0 and Greece took their first lead of the game, 62:63.
On the next play, Mavroeidis fouled out and he took most of Greece's hopes of winning along with him to the bench. At least, that's how it seemed.
As soon as the Greek big guy left the game, Israel immediately reaffirmed their superiority and with 1 minute 30 to go, were 82:72 in front.
But fate had one last storyline for this game and it came in the form of Nikolaos Papanikolaou. Averaging just 2 minutes per game, Papanikolaou came in and nailed 2 huge three-pointers to bring Greece back to within 1-point, 83:82.
Yotam Halperin had a chance to extend the lead but in what proved to be his only error of the game, he uncharacteristically missed 2 free throws.
18 seconds were left when Israel's Raviv Limonad stepped to the line with the opportunity to increase his team's lead to 3. He made one of two, but Lior Eliyahu grabbed the offensive board to give his side a fresh 24. Limonad was fouled again, this time intentionally and went to the line for 2 more free throws.
But still the drama was not over.
He missed both and luckily for Israel, they retained possession thanks to the intentional foul call. This time it was Yotam Halperin who took the inbounds and waited for the inevitable foul. He nailed both free throws, his 31st and 32nd points of the game, and Israel celebrated another remarkable victory.
Yotam Halperin  was again the center of attention for Israel, but it was truly a team performance that won the day and every Israeli player chipped in when necessary. Lior Eliyahu (16 points) and Limonad (18 points) also deserve special mention for coming up with key plays down the stretch.
Greece will be left to rue a game that was well beneath their capabilities. Vasileiadis had 26 points, but made just 1/8 three-pointers.

For 5.-8. places
Czech Rep. - Russia 62-95 (12-24; 29-49; 39-65)
Czech Rep.: Tomanec 13+5reb, Steffel 12+8reb, Licartovsky 11...
Russia: Komarovski 18+4reb, Keirou 16+4reb, Chevel 15, Goliakhov 12+9reb...

Serbia & Montenegro - Latvia 74-71 (23-15; 38-32; 57-51)
Serbia: Radenovic 16+10reb, Koljevic 14+5reb, Perovic 12+7reb, Markovic 10+4reb...
Latvia: Jahovics 20+10reb, Stalbergs 12, Sirsnins 11...

For 9.-12.places
Spain - Belarus 59-84 (19-25; 33-48; 43-69)
Spain: Gasol 17+7reb, Huertas 14...
Belarus: Paliashchuk 17+5as, Aheunin 11+4reb, Mishukou 10...

Ukraine - Croatia 67-65 (10-24; 31-36; 50-52)

Orlenko 17+7reb, Dyatlovskyy 16, Pecherov 14+9reb...
Croatia: Cosic 18+4reb, Pasalic 15+10reb, Garma 13+6reb...



Russia - Slovenia 67-74  (17-16; 32-38; 52-58)
Russia: Komorovski 15, Keirou 13+7reb, Panin 12, Kuznetsov 10...
Slovenia: Erazem Lorbek 31+8reb, D.Lorbek 13, Mocnik 10+6as...
It didn't take long for the first upset to rear its head in the quarter-finals of the Eural Trans Gas European Championship for U20 Men in Brno, Czech Republic.
It came courtesy of Slovenia's 74:67 win over Russia.
As has become an unwelcome tradition for Russian male teams, the side started out strongly in the competition and were favoured for a medal. Slovenia, on the other hand, had not produced the kind of form that took them to a silver medal at the 2002 European Championship for U18 Men.
But the Slovenians came up with the kind of game they are capable of to beat Russia, and encouragingly for their team, center Erazem Lorbek rediscovered his A-game.

Erazem Lorbek dominated in 2002, averaging 23.2 ppg and 10.8 rpg and earning MVP honours. So far he has not looked the same player, except for today. His 31-point effort was the key factor that tipped the balance for Slovenia in a tight 4th quarter.

After a close first period, it was Slovenia who managed to emerge with their noses slightly in front, a situation that would remain the same for almost 40 minutes. They led by 6-points at halftime and were able to increase that lead to 16 points midway through the third.
Then Russia, in sleeping giant fashion, finally woke up.
The Russians turned up the defensive pressure and went on a 10-0 run to get right back into contention. Into the 4th and Russia even went ahead, thanks to 5 straight points from guard Viktor Keiru ( 64:62).
Russia led again at 67:65, but a drive and basket from Domen Erazem Lorbek  tied the game and big brother Erazem hit a jumper to put Slovenia in front once more.
The final minute of the game was littered with Russian errors. Firstly Alexey Kuznetsov turned the ball over, to which Erazem Lorbek  replied with a basket (71:67) and on the next play, Kuznetsov missed a 3.

With 34 seconds remaining, Russia decided to put Slovenia on the line and see if their nerves would hold. Slovenian point guard Jore Mocnik could hit just 1/2, but another Russian turnover, this time by Andrei Komarovski gave Russia too much to do in the final 25 seconds. They were forced to foul again and Erazem Lorbek's 2 free throws gave his side an unassailable, 74:67 lead.

Erazem Lorbek scored 10 of his 31 in the 4th quarter, and brother Domen added 13 for the game.

Israel - Serbia&Montenegro 83-82 (18-22; 35-37; 57-59)
Israel: Halperin 20, Kazarnovski 19+10reb, Limonad 15+4as, Eliyahu 12+7reb...
Serbia: Radenovic 22, Sljivancanin 18+4as, Koljevic 14+5as, Perovic 12+4reb...
Those are just a few of the words that go some way to describing Israel's amazing win over Serbia & Montenegro here in the quarter-finals of the Eural Trans Gas European Championship for U20 Men.
“This is something that we have worked 2 years for,” said Israeli star up-and-comer Yotam Halperin after the game.
“It's the dream of every basketball player to beat Serbia & Montenegro in the quarter-finals of a European Championship. This is why we play and work so hard.”

All the odds were stacked against Israel. They were physically outmatched by the Serb & Montenegrins to the point where the 199 cm Elion Zagury was guarding the 217 cm Kosta Perovic. But more worryingly, Halperin was injured.
Halperin had picked up an ankle injury and was literally only able to play on one leg. Robbed of his ability to drive to the basket, he was limited to shooting 3-pointers and on defense his team-mates had to constantly switch to make up for his lack of mobility.
Despite the overwhelming obstacles, Halperin still scored 20 points and Israel gave the performance of the tournament.
Although they lost, Serbia & Montenegro gave a creditable performance. They led for almost the whole game and it was only in the final period that Israel took their first lead. Up until that point, the Israelis hung around in contention, but never looked like they had enough gas in the tank to go in front.
Everything changed at the start of the 4th and it was Halperin who hit a three to give his team a 62:60 lead, their first of the game.
Everything was suddenly going Israel's way and a pair of breakaway dunks from Lior Eliyahu and Igor Simin gave the side a 6-point lead, 68:62.
Serbia & Montenegro were far from beaten and the next 5 minutes was basketball at its high-scoring best. Serbia & Montenegro hit 4 three-pointer in 5 possessions, and while Israel answered with 2 of their own, they surrendered the lead, 73:76.

Things were looking grim for Israel as Serbia & Montenegro had all the momentum going their way. However, a jump shot from Erez Kohansky and 2 free throws by Halperin tied the score at 80:80 and set the stage for a dramatic finale.
Anton Kazarnovski, who had a great game inside against the Serb & Montenegrin giants, split a pair from the line (81:80), but Kosta Perovic answered with 2 free throws of his own on the next play (81:82).
28 seconds remained for Israel to come up with a basket, and they did in the most unlikely fashion. Halperin missed a 3-pointer, but Kohansky came up with a rebound and shot, that missed again. Then Kazarnovski managed to get inside, tip the ball in and was fouled, 83:82.
Kazarnovski missed the ensuing free throw, and with 4.4 seconds on the clock, Serbia & Montenegro got the ball to an open Perovic for a 3-pointer. It hit the rim and missed and Israel will advance to the semi-finals.
Kazarnovski finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds and 4 blocks but it was truly a team performance from Israel which won the day.
Lithuania - Czezh Rep. 99-72 (22-16; 51-28; 73-4
Lithuania: Babrauskas 17, Jomantas 16, Dabkus 13, Anisimov 11+7reb, Jankunas 10+11reb, Kleiza 10+5reb...
Czech R.: Klimanek 17, Steffel 16+9reb, Benda 10...
After 2 surprises in the quarter-finals, form was finally obeyed in the match-up between Lithuania and Czech Republic.

The Czechs have done an excellent job in reaching the quarter-finals, but the task of beating the Lithuanians proved to be insurmountable.
Lithuania inflicted most of the damage in a 29-point second quarter, but by the end of the first, they already led by 8, 22:16.

Steponas Babrauskas was the chief architect of Lithuania's dominance. He scored 15 points in a perfect first half shooting display, hitting all 6 of his field goal attempts, including three 3-pointers. Arturas Jomantas was almost as dangerous and he nailed 14 points.

Lithuania's strength was not just offense, however, and they also turned up their defensive intensity a notch or two. The result was that Czech Republic could hit just 7/23 field goals and the fact that they could make only 2/8 free throws also didn't help.

The second half told a similar story.

Lithuania were comfortably able to hold onto their lead and close the game well in front.

Brabauskas made one further shot in his final 7 minutes on court. That kept his 100% shooting record intact and he finished 7/7 from the floor for 17 points. He was joined by another 5 Lithuanian players in double figures. Paulius Jankunas produced his 4th double-double of the tournament, 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Greece - Latvia 87-66  (17-16; 39-34; 66-48)

Greece: Vasileiadis 25+4reb...

Latvia: Jahovics 20+8reb, Gabrans 13...

Greece underlined their credentials as medal favourites here today at the Eural Trans Gas European Championship for U20 Men. The Greeks have been bridesmaids at their last 2 tournaments, picking up bronze medals at the 2002 European Championships for U18 Men and the 2003 World Championships for U19 Men.

The question is whether Greece can go one better in 2004 and based on their easy defeat of Latvia today in Brno, it is a distinct possibility.

After a sluggish opening first quarter, the Greeks stepped up a gear in the second. They opened up a 5-point lead which quickly reached double-digits in the third period.

The game quickly got out of reach for the Latvians and they they could not cut the score to double digits or even hope to get back into the contest.
Greek guard Kostas Vasileiadis is the competition's leading scorer and his was on form again today, notching up a game-high 25 points. Panagiotis Vasilopoulos also found his touch and added 24.

  Czech made it to the quarter-finals!
The final day of preliminary round action in the Eural Trans Gas European Championship for U20 Men brought little in the way of drama. With most of the quarter-final spots already taken, it was left to Spain and Czech Republic to fight for  a remaining berth. Both teams won, but it was home side Czech Republic who did enough to carry on their tournament dreams.

Spain 92  - Russia 69
A 9 o'clock start was not the kind of motivation that Russia needed going into their game with Spain. When you consider that for the Russians, the game was meaningless (first place in the group was a certainty regardless of the outcome), the final scoreline of 92:69 in Spain's favour was not a surprise. While Russia took it easy, Spain needed to win and win big if their quarter-final hopes were to be fulfilled.  They achieved their aim and their inside-outside pairing of Marc Gasol and Victor Sada were a big reason why.

Sada made his own piece of history, becoming the second player this summer to record a triple double (the first was Lithuania's Martynas Andriuskevicius at the European Championship for U18 Men). Sada's 23 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists paced Spain to victory. The Spanish guard stands just 189 cm, but has almost no equal under the boards in this competition. He is averaging double-digit rebounds after 4 games and currently stands no.2 in that category for the competition (10.6 rpg).

Gasol produced a good performance against Latvia (28 points and 12 rebounds) and continued his form against Russia. His 29 points and 11 rebounds are further indication that, although he may never be as good as his brother, at 210 cm he is another talented player in a country where big men come at a premium.

But for all the positives, Spain's win was in vain and the Czech Republic's defeat of Latvia cancelled their chances of making the top 8.

Czech Republic 85 -  Latvia 60

Home team Czech Republic had already produced one surprise of the tournament; their 69:65 victory over Spain. Against Latvia, the Czech Republic knew that only a win would guarantee a quarter-final spot and retain their status as the competition's “Cinderella team”. 

As it turned out, their 85:60 win not only furthered their stay in the tournament, but gave them 3rd place in Group B with Latvia falling to 4th. The Czech Republic undoubtedly benefited from the home support and 2,000 spectators turned up to cheer on their side. The fan presence, as well as the team's own determination, allowed them to jump out to an early lead, 26:18 after the first quarter. There was no doubt that, based on past performance, Latvia were the favourites to win. But any comeback, expected or not, simply did not materialise. Czech Republic were able to control the contest throughout, and their lead never looked in question. It was a team effort that won the day, but center David Steffel is proving to be one of the top big men in the tournament. He finished the game with 21 points and 11 rebounds, while Lukas Kraus added 22 on 9/12 shooting.

Lithuania 73 -  Greece 67
The 3rd game of the final day in the preliminary round promised an intriguing match-up. Although both teams were already assured of a quarter-finals berth, there was the matter of 1st place in the group at stake, as well as, of course, pride. An interesting side-story was the battle between 2 of the tournament's leading scorers, Konstantinos Vasileiadis (GRE) and Linus Kleiza (LTU), both of whom would play a part in the game's eventual outcome.
Greece were undefeated in their opening 4 games, but in this last contest, produced their worst performance. It was Lithuania who were the most consistent team and having nursed a small lead for 35 minutes, pulled away in the final 5 for the victory, 67:73. The most interesting quarter was undoubtedly the second. In the opening period, Greece were lethargic and although they only trailed by 4 points at the buzzer, did not seem to have their heads in the game. 
That was the moment when Vasileiadis woke up.  The young Greek guard had a shot attempt snuffed under the basket by Lithuania's Darius Silinskas and that was his cue to drag his side back into contention. It began with successive three-pointers, which were followed with a bucket and foul. Vasileiadis' energy suddenly seemed to know no bounds and he sparked Greece back into contention. He would finish the quarter with 15 points and at halftime the game was tied, 37:37. While Vasileiadis was lighting up the scoreboard, Lithuania got a pretty good performance from their star forward, Linus Kleiza (16 points in the first half). But the difference in the game proved to be not the two stars, but their support. Vasileiadis' red hot play turned to stone cold in the second half and his team suffered. Greece managed to stay close in the 3rd, but a 6:0 Lithuanian run at the end of the period opened their lead to 60:55. In the fourth Greece still had trouble putting the ball in the basket, and while Lithuania also struggled, it seemed that whenever Greece scored they were able to answer.
Vasileiadis only managed 3 more points in the second half, but interestingly enough they proved to be pretty important. Lithuania need an 11-point win to secure top spot in the group and with 1 minute to go, led by 9. Vasileiadis' only three-pointer of the second half came with 50 seconds on the clock and interrupted Lithuania's momentum enough to ensure that the final margin was 6, and Greece finish as the group winner.

Serbia & Montenegro 76  - Slovenia 47
On paper, the contest between Serbia & Montenegro and Slovenia had the potential to be a good one. In reality it didn't happen. Serbia & Montenegro rode an awesome shooting performance from Ivan Koljevic (31 points on 12/14 field goals  -
 5/5 three-pointers), while Slovenia could barely get the ball near the basket, let alone through.
The Slovenians looked strong in the opening 10 minutes and took a 5-point lead into the second quarter (19:14). But each quarter saw a more futile offensive performance. They scored 12 points in the 2nd, 10 in the 3rd and just 6 in the 4th period to close the game with just 47 points to thier name. In the meantime Serbia & Montenegro had matters well under control by halftime and were not challenged in the remaining 20 minutes.

Ukraine 73 - Belarus 67
There was nothing for either of these teams at stake, other than pride. Both Belarus and Ukraine had no hopes of reaching the quarter-finals and each were looking for a sole preliminary round victory. It was Ukraine who got the win, 73:67, but it is scant consolation for what might have been. The Ukrainians came into the tournament on a major high thanks to victory in the Global Games in Dallas. The triumph included wins over Serbia & Montenegro and Croatia (in the final), while center Oleksiy Pecherov was named tournament MVP (31 points and 13 rebounds in the final). Nonetheless, Ukraine had a much tougher time in Brno and ultimately no chance to qualify for the top 8. It was a third quarter charge which gave Ukraine victory over Belarus. Just 3 points separated the teams at halftime (33:30), but Ukraine were able to increase those 3 points to 17 in the third. 5 Ukrainian players hit double figures in scoring and Sergiy Gorbenko led the way with 14.

Israel 84 - Croatia 104
The last game of the day had also the least meaning. Israel were sure of 2nd place in Group A, while Croatia's hopes of repeating their title (they won the 2002 European Championship for U18 Men) had long since dissipated.
The relative unimportance of the contest allowed both teams the luxury of playing little defense, a fact reflected in the final scoreline; 104: 84 to Croatia.
Croatia found their shooting touch and hit 33/55 field goals, including 13/22 (60%) of their three-pointers.

The Croatian offensive attack allowed them to take an early lead which they began to increase in the third period. Israel made a half-hearted attempt to press and get back into the game, but Croatia were able to keep the ball out  of any Israeli hands and consistently hit their shots. 3 Croatian players surpassed the 20-point mark and Petar Cosic led the way with 26. Israel, who will face Serbia & Montenegro in the quarter-final, were led by Yotmar Halperin with 22 points.

  Six teams in the top 8 already
Six of the eight spots in the quarter-finals are already decided one day before the end of the preliminary round, but still lots is about to be decided tomorrow. Ukraine and Belarus are already out in Group B, which means Greece, Serbia & Montenegro, Lithuania and Slovenia have qualified. But these top four teams will go head-to-head tomorrow, as Lithuania will try to conquer the first place in a match up against the unbeaten Greek team, and Slovenia will try to escape from the 4th place with a win over SRB. Almost every combination is possible and nothing is sure yet. In Group A we already know which teams will finish in the top two spots. Russia will finish first, while Israel got a hold of the second spot. Three teams -  Czech, Spain, Croatia - have won only a single game and will fight for survival tomorrow. Each one of them will meet one of the top 3 teams in the group. Latvia holds a record of two wins and two losses, but can still found itself out after tomorrow's games, so everything is open down there.
Russia 86  -  Croatia 54
In the first game of the fourth day Russia secured the first spot in Group A with a very impressive performance against Croatia. Russia didn't leave a chance for its opponent with a 32 point win, 86-54, stays perfect after 4 games, and will hold the first place even by losing tomorrow. Drago Pasalic with 21 points and Marko Banic with 13 and 7 turnovers couldn't keep their team in the game against the fast pace of the scoring abilities of the Russians. While Russia shot 11 of 22 from three point land, Croatian hit only twice out of 21 shot attempts. Russia scored in the second quarter the exact same amount of points, 25, that Croatia scored in the entire first half, and after 20 minutes held a 45-25 lead. The Russian domination continued in the second half and Egor Vyaltsev bombed the Croatian basket from every corner on the court on his way to 21 points, and a 32 margin at the final buzzer.

Serbia & Montenegro 76  -  Belarus 62
Belarus is still searching for its first win of the championship after 4 games, but today they gave a worthy fight for the Serbian team before surrendering. Ivan Koljevic scored 11 points in the first half to lead his team, Serbia & Montenegro, to a 40-33 lead after one half. Vladzimir Verameyenka and Dzmitry Paliashchuk led Belarus in storming minutes in the third quarter managed to stop the Serbian attack and after 27 minutes Serbia's lead was minimized to 2, 48-46. In that point Kosta Perovic, who scored 13 points, and Milos Markovic, joined Koljevic and made sure that SRB will enter the last quarter leading by 8, 56-48. After missing the chance to take the lead into its hands, Belarus was unable to make one more effort and comeback again to the game. SRB won by 14 points and got its third win of the games.

Latvia 79  -  Spain 72
With one win for each team both Latvia and Spain wanted to avoid going into the last day of the competition with the same winning record. After four quarters it was Latvia who achieved the goal, and was presented with the second win in the championship. Spain is on the edge of elimination after a 79-72 loss. Latvia took off only in the second quarter after a 15-14 lead at the end of the first. An unstoppable rain of threepoint shots already in the first half (10/20) left Spain behind by 12 points by half time, 40-28. Kaspars Berzins and Rinalds Sirsnins finished the first half with a combined record of 7 out of 10 from behind the arc, and neither of them scored inside the arc. Spain never really made it back to the game. Marc Gasol, despite 28 points and 12 rebounds, couldn't rescue his team, and with a little over 3 minutes to go Latvia held a 69-57 lead. Spain made one last effort and used a series of turnovers by Latvia to force a 0-9 run that cut the margin to no more than 3 points, 69-66 with 1:20 minutes to play in the game. Arturs Stalbergs of Latvia took a bad shot from 3 in the next possession but the ball hit the backboard and went in, and broke the comeback spirit of Spain. Sirsnins and Gatis Jahovics completed the win from the free throw line and their dream of a quarter-finals appearance is slowly becoming reality.

Lithuania 69  - Slovenia 65
Probably the most interesting game of the day displayed Lithuania and Slovenia for an important battle toward the final exit in group B. Slovenia held the lead for most parts of the game, but allowed Lithuania to score the last 6 points of the game, and win by 4, 69-65. Lithuania will try to beat Greece tomorrow and win the first spot in Group B after it assured the quarter-finals ticket. Slovenia's spot in the quarter-finals is secured as well, but without a win tomorrow they will have to face the first team from Group A -  Russia, in the quarter-finals. Slovenia opened the game ina  better shape and held Lithuania scoreless for the first couple of minutes. Paulius Jankunas of Lithuania woke up in time and scored 16 points already in the first quarter, to take his team a 23-19 lead after 10 minutes. Erazem Lorbek and Hasan Rizvic paved the way back for Slovenia who took a 37-42 lead after one half. Slovenia continued to stay on top of Lithuania but wasn't able to make a decent run. With 1:30 to go in the third quarter Linas Lekavicius hit a big three-pointer than put Lithuania on top 53-52, but at the end of the quarter Slovenia led 53-55. The Slovenian survived for most of the minutes in the final quarter, but that wasn't enough against a stubborn team from Lithuania. Marius Prekevicius hit another key three pointer 2:30 to play in the game that gave his team a 2 point lead, 65-63. Jure Moncik with a crazy penetration tied the game, but Arturan Jomantas and Jankunas, with a huge tip-in that set his numbers on another big double-double of 20 point,16 rebounds and only one miss from the field (8/9), fixed the scoreboard on 69-65 for Lithuania with 1:04 to play. Slovenia took a timeout but until the end of the game there were no more points added.

Israel 78  -  Czech 68
The Israeli team earned its third win in the championship and made sure no team will be able to take the second place in Group A from its hands. Israel's last game tomorrow against Croatia won't make any difference as the Israelis will finish second in any case and will face the team that will finish third in Group B. The hosting team gave another worthy effort and never raised its hands, but didn't have what it takes to gain a second win in the championship. This time the locals lost 78-68 to Israel.The Czech team held a 9-10 lead during the first quarter, but Israel replied with a 6-0 run and finished the first quarter leading by 5, 17-12. The big push by Israel came during the third quarter when it climbed to a 17 point lead, 51-34, and all seemed done and set for the quarter-finals qualification celebrations, but David Steffel, who had 25 points tonight, had different plans and along with his teammates Czech made a 0-13 run, that made it a new game, but once again Israel managed to stay cool and with Raviv Limonade, who scored 27 points today, and Yotam Halperin with a key three-pointer in the closing minutes, Israel safely cruised for a 10 point win.

Greece 91  -  Ukraine 82
The team from Greece remains the only team in Group B without a loss, but will have to beat Lithuanian in the last day to secure the first spot. Greece has already qualified to the elite 8 while Ukraine lost its chance to get a surprising quarter-finals ticket, but still nevertheless the team that was having control over the game most of the time seemed to be Ukraine. Greece managed to win 91-82 after another scoring performance by Kosta Vasileiadis who nailed 32 points today. The Ukrainians were strong in the game during the first half, and closed the first 2 quarters with a 42-43 lead. Vasileiadis added 13 points in the second half to reach his 32, but it was Panagiotis Vasilopoulos who stepped up with 17 points and 3 hits from behind the arc in the second half to help Greece take control over the game, and stay with a perfect record also after 4 games.

  Day 3
Slovenia 84  -  Belarus 55
Belarus will keep looking for its first win of the tournament after tomorrow's rest day. Slovenia was far too much for them to handle, and easily won by 29 points, 84-55.
Four Slovenian players scored in double-digits, led by 17 points from Miha Fon, but the most interesting stats line was produced by Matej Venta who scored only 6 points but grabbed 8 rebounds and stole 7 balls.
Vladzimir Verameyenka did his best for the Belarus team with 17 points and 10 rebounds, but couldn't match up for too long against the sheer size of the Slovenian team in the paint.
Slovenia took a 23-10 lead after 10 minutes, but at half time we had a new game after Belarus finished strong to be down by only 6, 36-30. Slovenia didn't waste too much time and already in the third quarter made sure to seal the deal and won the second half 48-25.

Russia 78 -  Latvia 73
In less than 24 hours Russia once again came back from behind to win a close game that for 35 minutes was in the hands of its opponent. Yesterday it was Israel, and today Latvia saw a win slip out of its hands in the last minutes.
Russia stays perfect after 3 games with a 78-73 win.
Latvia took a 31-44 lead deep in the second quarter after another easy two of Bambis in the paint, but Russia came back with a 11-2 run to cut the lead to 4, 42-46.
Latvia spoke the last word and finished the first half up by 6.
The same story was repeated in the third quarter. Latvia climbed to a double-digit lead, 49-61 with a little more than 3 minutes to go, but Russia replied with a 12-4 run and opened the last quarter down by 4, 61-65.
Half way through the last quarter Russia came even closer, to only 64-65, but after Jahovics drilled a big three and stole the ball, it seemed like this game was going in Latvia's direction.
Not for long.
Up until the end of the game Latvia was able to add only 5 more points, while Russia tied with a big bucket from Levter. A big follow-up dunk by the same player sent out a clear message.

Lithuania 93  -  Ukraine 78
After two big losses the Ukraine finally gave a worthy fight, but was still unable to win its first game in the championship. Lithuania made its deciding run in a 30-16 fourth quarter, and earned its second win of the championship, 93-78.
The first half was a one man show in each team. Linas Kleiza of Lithuania scored 22 points already in the first half, exactly 50% of the total amount Lithuania scored until then.
On the other side Oleksiy Pecherov nailed 18 points of his own, and that was enough to put his team on top after 20 minutes, 44-48, with the same Pecherov nailing a big 3 pointer with the buzzer.
Kleiza continued to dominate in the second half and added 14 more points, for a total amount of 36 points in 35 minutes (Championship high up until now), while Pecherov added only 5 more points in the 2nd half, and watched his team go down by 15 with the final buzzer.

Greece 72 - Serbia & Montenegro 59
A first loss in the championship came for Serbia & Montenegro today in their third game. An amazing first half from Kosta Vasileiadis shocked the Serbs and opened a margin that was too big for Serbia & Montenegro to overcome.
The talented shooter for the Greeks scored 23 points in the first half hitting 8/11 from the field and helped his team to win by 13, 72-59, but the margin was much bigger in the closing minutes.
Vasileiadis amazed the Serbs with unstoppable bombs from everywhere on court, as Greece took a 23-11 lead after 10 minutes, and kept the margin on 12 by half time, 44-32.
Serbia was able to stop Vasileiadis' shooting streak in the second half, and he added only 6 more points, but the Serbs couldn't find a way to break through the Greek defense, and the gap just kept on growing, crossing the 20 point barrier early in the fourth.
Greece maintained its perfect record and is standing on top of Group B at the end of the first three days, as the only team without a loss.

Israel 86  -  Spain 77
Israel recovered from the upset against Russia in the second day with a 9 point win over Spain, which still missed Jan Martin.
Yotam Halperin of Israel had an unforgettable night from the free throw line making all of his 17 foul shot attempts that led Israel to a big 86-77 win.
Spain registered already its second lost and has to win the last 2 games to secure its spot in the quarter-finals.
After 10 minutes in the game Israel and Spain were even at 22-22, but it was Spain who took a 5 point lead, 28-33, late in the second quarter.
Yotam Halperin nailed 5 free throws in a row, after he was fouled for a 3 point shot and an additional technical foul against Spain. Still Spain managed to finish the first half leading 40-42.
Israel trailed in the first part of the third quarter, but made a big 12-0 run in the closing 5:44 minutes of the third to take a 61-52 lead.
Spain found its way back in the game and came as close as 6 points, 73-67, but with the accurate foul shots by Halperin, Israel felt safe and cruised to a 9 point win.

Croatia 82 - Czech Republic 64
Finally after 3 games Croatia was able to come off the court with happy thoughts. After two losses Croatia faced the home team, which had some hopes to keep the surprise routine alive for one more game.
Drago Pasalic had a big game with 32 points and 16 boards that were enough for a first Croatian win. Marko Banic added a double-double of his own of 19 points and 10 rebounds, while David Steffel of the Czech team answered with 22 points and 13 boards.
Croatia decided the game already after the first half when it took a 42-27 lead.
The Czech fans continued to push their team in the second half, but it took more than that to surrender Croatia, which hit 8 three-pointers against only 2 from the Czechs.

  Day 2
Latvia 76 -  Croatia 69
Croatia suffered its second loss in the Championship already after the second day and once again after 40 minutes was down by 7 points.
This time it was Latvia's turn to upset the Junior European Champion of this generation with a 76-69 win.
It seemed like Croatia was going to have an easy game, with a solid 13-21 lead after 10 minutes, but Kaspars Berzins and Gatis Jahovics, who finished with 18 points each, carried their team through a great second quarter and after one half Latvia had a 38-31 lead.
The Latvian celebration went on in the second half and despite a very bad day from 3 point land (2/11 against 10/27 from Croatia), they even increased the margin as a surprising hit from 3 by Barzins, with the help of the backboard, closed the third quarter with Latvia leading 63-48.
Croatia laid its future in the hands of the three-point-magician but could only narrow the gap to 7 by the end of the game.

Czech Republic 69 - Spain 65
The local Czech team handed out the biggest upset of the U20 championship already in the second day of the competition.
Spain played without Jan Martin, who was injured in the first game, but still didn't expect such a performance by the home team.
It was only the 2nd win ever for Czech Republic in the U20 Europena Championship history. An amazing finish by the Czech team, led by David Marek who scored 8 points in the last 2:11 minutes, shocked Spain and gave the locals a 69-65 win.
After giving a good fight to Russia in the first day, and beating Spain on the second, nobody will underestimate the Czech team any more. It started well already from the first minutes as the Czechs took a 14-6 advantage with 2:40 to play in the first quarter after a three-pointer of Marek - one out of 5 he had in the entire game.
One minute into the 2nd quarter and the Czechs already had a double-digit lead, 22-12, but Spain recovered fast and by half time held a 29-30 lead after Victor Sada sank 2 from the line with 4 seconds to go before the buzzer.
Spain opened the second half with 6 points in a row, and it seemed like the end of the road for the host team, but after 8 minutes the margin was narrowed down to only 2, 47-49, and the Czechs were back in business.
Ctirad Klimanek nailed a big one with 8 minutes to play to give his team a big 1 point lead, 52-51, and the fans were rocking the house.
Spain took the lead back but with 2:46 to play Tomas Toth, who entered the game only several minutes before and had a big finish of his own, tied the game at 59-59.
A little over 30 seconds passed and Marek hit a downtown bomb in crunch time to give his team a 3 point lead, 62-59.
Spain replied with a small 0-5 run, but it was enough to take the lead back. Not for long. Marek drilled another from the other side and left Spain in shock and down by 1, 65-64 with a little over a minute to play.
Spain was able to add only one more point until the end and nothing was more deserved than to give Toth and Marek share the last 4 points of their team that secured the great win.

Serbia & Montenegro 80 - Lithuania 72
The team from Serbia & Montenegro stays perfect after the second day of the competition and after facing one of the its toughest opponents in Group B - Lithuania.
It was a close battle for 40 minutes, but Serbia had more energy to finish it up with an 80-72 win.
Paulius Jankunas had a huge game for Lithuania with a 14 point-16 rebound double-double but Serbia displayed the big Kosta Perovic with 18 points and point-guard Ivan Koljevic with 20.
Serbia finished the first quarter up by 7, 26-19, after a big 3 point hit by Koljevic with the buzzer.
Lithuania made it back to the game in the third quarter when Linas Klieza stormed the court and after finishing a penetration with a big dunk in the first half, he added more points and rebounds in the third, as Lithuania held its opponent on 10 points only in the quarter, and took a 51-53 lead after 30 minutes of play.
The teams went neck-to-neck deep into the fourth but the Serbs had a better momentum. Bojan Stajic nailed a big 3 pointer that set the gap on 6, 72-66, with a little less than 2 minutes to go.
Kankunas hit only one from the line and on the other side Perovic showed him how to make it work by keeping his free-throw record clean.
Klieza hit his second three-pointer with 47 seconds to go to make it a 4 point game again, 74-70, but Serbia & Montenegro broke the full court pressure and Perovic finished with a big dunk that was worth a big win for his team.

Slovenia 100 - Ukraine 82
The first game of the second day in the championship introduced us to the first team to score 100 points - Slovenia, which got its first win against the Ukraine, 100-82. The Ukrainians will have to stay patient for at least one more day before celebrating their first win.
The game was decided already after one quarter, when Slovenia didn't show any remorse and overran their opponents 38-12 after 10 minutes. Erazem Lorbek had an easy game with 25 points, and his brother Domen added 14 points and 6 assists.
Ukraine, which lost 27-15 in rebounds, was led by Dmytro Dyatlovskyy who scored 19 points including 5 hits from downtown.

Greece 81 - Belarus 60
Don't be fooled by the final score. After the big loss in the first day Belarus gave a worthy fight against Greece, but couldn't survive for more than 3 quarters and lost 81-60.
The Greeks couldn't find an answer to Vladzimir Verameyenka who finished with a big double-double of 24 points and 10 rebounds and kept his team in the game for a long time. Belarus finished the first quarter up by one, 19-20, and didn't stay far behind by half time, when Greece took the lead, but not for more than 2 points, 36-34.
Belarus had total control in the rebounds, but when Greece didn't miss, it wasn't an effective advantage anymore. Panagiotis Vasilopoulos shinned in Greece, that took a 47-36 lead after 26 minutes.
Belarus finally broke the spell on the Greek basket and narrowed the gap to 5, 54-49, late in the third, but that wasn't enough to survive the Greek attack in the last quarter. Kosta Vaileiadis drilled 17 points and added 6 steals on the way to a difficult 21 point win.

Russia 90 - Israel 83
Second win in two games for Russia, who managed to steal the win from the hands of the Israeli team with a 33-10 run in the last minutes on the way to a 90-83 win, after Israel already held a 16 point lead in the last quarter.
Israel had the upper hand for almost 35 minutes, but the first half was more even. Israel had a 13-18 lead after the first quarter, but Russia opened the second quarter with a 9-0 run that later put them on top by 6, 29-23.
Igor Simin of Israel with a big three-pointer sealed a great Israeli finish for the half with a 4-15 run and a 33-38 lead. Yotam Halperin, who scored 24 points already in the first three quarters, led Israel to its biggest advantage of the game, 57-73, with 7:44 to play, but from that point on there was only one team on the court.
Halperin was stopped on only one point in the last quarter, Russia took the lead back in its hands with a 24-7 run, and increased the margin to 7 in the last minute.

  Greece and Spain open with big wins

Spain, Russia and Israel had smiles on their faces at the end of the first day in Group A of the U20 European Championship. Spain beat Croatia in the last match of the day, Israel beat Latvia in the most close game while Russia had to sweat a little before submitting the local team from Czech. The smiling faces on Group B were Lithuania, Serbia & Montenegro and Greece after the first two had a very east start against the Ukraine and and Belarus while Greece opened with a win over Slovenia.

Lithuania 81 -  Belarus 47
The first game of the championship was one-sided and decided very fast in favor of Lithuania 81-47. Lithuania didn't leave any chances for Belrus from the first minute, and took a 22-6 lead after one quarter. The complete dominance of the Lithuanians didn't stop there, and as the minutes went by Linas Kleiza and his team continued to increase the gap. The Lithuanian coach shared the minutes equally between almost all his players , and only two of them played more than 20 minutes. After 4 quarters we had the first winner -  Lithuania by 34 points.

Israel 73 - Latvia 68
The first match in Group B was the exact opposite to the prior one. Israel struggled to get its first win in the tournament, but down the stretch made less mistakes and was awarded with a 5 point win, 73-68. Both teams were going neck to neck for 40 minutes, and Israel finished the first half up by 1, 37-36 as Raviv Limonad had already 12 points. Israel managed to stop Gatis Jahovics, that after scoring 11 in the first half added only 2 in the second, but Kaspars Berzins stepped up and carried his team to a close finish with the Israeli side. After a 68-63 lead of Israel, Latvia came back to trail by one two. An offensive rebound of Anton Kazarnovski of Israel with 24 seconds to go and his team up by 2 saved the day for the blue-and-whites. Rekis Edgars missed a 3 point shot 5 seconds to go that could have tied the game, and Raviv Limonad, the top scorer of the game with 19 points, sealed the deal from the line.

Serbia & Montenegro 90 - Ukraine 62
The second game in Group B was one-sided as well. After Lithuania beat Belarus by 34 points, we witnessed Serbia & Montenegro keep Ukraine 28 points behind in another game that was going in one direction from the first minute. SRB took a 20-4 lead early in the game, and finished the first quarter leading 23-7. In the third quarter SRB decided it was time to close the window on this game, and once again won the 10 minutes period by a double-margin with Ukraine once again stuck on a single digit in the scoring column with only 9. Kosta Perovic and Ivan Koljevic led the way for Serbia & Montenegro in the easy opener.

Greece 91 - Slovenia 84
Already in its first big game of the tournament Greece registered a big win over Slovenia after a big run in the fourth quarter. It was a shoot out contest between two shooting guards - Kosta Vasileiadis of Greece and Domen Lorbek of Slovenia. It finished 26-25 for the Greek side, and a 7 point win, 91-84, for the same side. It was a very offensive game but with very aggressive defenses. Slovenia was the one that had the upper hand for the majority of the first 30 minutes, but Greece always stayed close behind. Domen Lorbek hit three-pointers one after the other but Greece, with 5 players in double-digits, didn't allow to Slovenia to take off. Then came the fourth quarter and it was time for the Greek squad to get on the scoring road. Greece nearly didn't miss a shot in the paint and with Vasileiadis bombing from downtown there wasn't much to do for the Slovenia team, that struggled on the other side for every point. Slovenia lost the last quarter 25-12, and will try to find its first win in the second game of the tournament.

Russia 89 - Czech 72
Russia got its first win of the games against the home team that gave an honored performance against one of the most talented teams here. It seemed like a very easy trip for Russia in the first 25 minutes, but the Czech team managed to cut it down to 4 in the last quarter before losing by 17. Viktor Keirou spinned his defenders and led Russia to a 36-31 lead after one half and during the third quarter the margin just kept growing. David Steffel was the one to lead Czech back to the game. the skilled forward, who was the first player to register a double-double (22 points, 10 rebounds) in the games, slowly carried his team and with a big push from the local fans, we had a 4 point game, 65-61, with 7 minutes to go. The Czechs were going strong on the offensive rebound and doing their best to stay in the game, but Russia replied with a 15-2 hitting again and again deadly three-pointers that didn't leave a chance for the locals.

Spain 82 -  Croatia 75
The big feud of Group B closed the first day of the championship. Only 6 players scored for Spain but two of them -  Jose Guzman and Marc Gasol -  crossed the 20 points barrier and led their team to a big 82-75 win over Croatia, that was behind for most of the game. Spain took full control over the game already in the first minutes, and after the first 10 minutes had a 30-20 lead. Croatia finally woke up in the second quarter but was able to tie the game only in the third after a big dunk by Nikola Garma. The two teams entered the last quarter tied at 58-58, but the one who had more air to produce the last effort was Spain, who once again dominated the boards, with point-guard Victor Sada grabbing 12 of them and adding 17 points, on the way to a big Spanish win.

4 Pavel Nickiporchik (216-C-84) of Khimik Engels (RUS)
5 Dmitri Akulich (185-G-86) of RSHVSM
6 Vyacheslav Skidan (206-C-85) of RTI-RUOR
7 Oleg Sanotskiy (198-F-85) of RTI-RUOR
8 Sergei Sapegin (190-G-84) of Lokomotiv Vitebsk
9 Andrey Mostov (200-F-84) of Grodno-93
10 Evgeni Grekhov (193-G-85) of RTI-RUOR
11 Dmitri Polischuk (192-G-85) of BK Minsk - BNTU
12 Alexandr Pustogvar (200-G/F-85) of Alians (RUS)
13 Yury Mishukov (205-C-85) of RTI-RUOR
14 Pavel Agevnin (198-F-85) of Mogilev
15 Vladimir Veremeenko (204-F-84) of Dynamo St.Petersburg (RUS)
Head coach: Igor Morozov of Spartak-Conditer
Assistant coach Aleksander Popkov of RTI-RUOR
Head coach: Josko Pulja
4 Petar Cosic (183-G-85) of Svjetlost Brod
5 Slavko Modric (201-F/G-84) of Alkar Sinj
6 Davor Filipovic (203-G/F-84) of Fairleigh Dickinson (NCAA)
7 Nikola Garma (203-F-85) of KK Zagreb
8 Josip Vucica (194-G-84) of KK Split
9 Hrvoje Kovacevic (191-G-86) of Svjetlost Brod
10 Marino Jurjevic (193-G-84) of Hermes Analitica
11 Drago Pasalic (208-C/F-84) of KK Split
12 Martin Previsic (195-G-84) of Sanac Karlovac
13 Marko Banic (204-F-84) of KK Zadar
14 Alen Trepalovac (213-C-85) of Cibona Zagreb
15 Luksa Andric (209-C/F-85) of Cibona Zagreb
4 David Marek (185-G-85) of Sparta Praha
5 Ondrej Prochazka (185-G-85) of Usti nad Labem
6 Tomas Toth (195-G-84) of USK Praha
7 Antonin Pistecky (195-F-84) of Usti n.Labem
8 Lukas Kraus (199-F-84) of Sparta Praha
9 Ctirad Klimanek (197-F-84) of NH Ostrava
10 Jaromir Fohler (208-C-85) of BK Prostejov
11 Stefan Licartovsky (197-G-84) of Sparta Praha
12 Marek Benda (193-F-84) of BVV Brno
13 Jan Tomanec (205-C-85) of Decin
14 Pavel Houska (198-F-84) of Usti n.Labem
15 David Steffel (212-F/C-85) of Benetton Treviso (ITA)
Head coach  Frantisek Ron of NH Ostrava
Assistant coach Petr Treml of USK Praha
4 Vasilis Xanthopoulos (188-G-84) of Near East
5 Giorgos Sourlis (190-G-85) of AEK Athens
6 Dimitris Kalaitzidis (198-F/G-85) of Iraklis
7 Konstantinos Vasileiadis (199-G-84)
8 Giorgios Apostolidis (197-G-84) of Iraklis
9 Nikolaos Papanikolaou (207-F-85) of AEK Athens
10 Giorgos Printezis (205-F-85) of Olympiakos
11 Stratos Perperoglou (203-G-84) of Panionios
12 Loukas Mavrokefalidis (210-C-84) of PAOK
13 Panagotis Vasilopoulos (202-F-84) of PAOK
14 Dimitris Mavroeidis (208-C-85) of Peristeri
15 Ian Vougioukas (210-C-85) of Ilisiakos
Head coach  Nikos Stavropoulos
Assistant coach Costas Patavoukas
4 Miha Bergig (206-F-84) of Maccabi Givat Shmuel
5 Gilad Hirsh (187-G-85) of Hapoel Haifa/Ramat Hasharon
6 Abraham Ben-Chimol (195-G-85) of Maccabi Tel-Aviv
7 Lior Lifchiz (180-G-84) of Maccabi Rishon Le-Zion
8 Igor Simin (196-G-84) of Hapoel Tel-Aviv
9 Yotam Halperin (194-G-84) of Maccabi Tel-Aviv
10 Erez Kohansky (195-F-84) of Maccabi Rishon Le-Zion
11 Ilon Zaguri (199-F-84) of Maccabi Givat Shmuel
12 Raviv Limonade (190-G-84) of Maccabi Ironi Ramat Gan
13 Lior Elyahu (205-F-85) of Hapoel Galil Elyon
14 Anton Kazarnovski (204-F/C-85) of Maccabi Tel-Aviv
15 Vladimir Yiermish (202-F-84) of Haifa/Neshe
Head coach: Arik Shivek of Ricoh Astronauts (NED)
Assistant coach Gino Jacob
Rinalds Sirsnins (187-G-85; BK Skonto)
Raimonds Gabrans (185-G-84; ASK/Buki)
Salvis Metra (193-G-84; Barons)
Aksels Vairogs (193-F-85; Ventspils augstskola)
Arturs Stalbergs (197-F-84; Lander, NCAA)
Gatis Jahovics (202-F-84; Anwil, POL)
Edgars Rekis (198-F-84; Ventspils augstskola)
Maris Gulbis (198-F-85; Barons)
Janis Bambis (200-C-84; Valmieras piens)
Kaspars Berzins (211-F-85; BK Skonto)
Karlis Gubats (204-C-85; Ventspils augstskola)
Mareks Jurevicus (197-F-85;Livu alus/Liepaja)
Head Coach: Varis Krumins
Assistent: Ziedonis Jansons
4 Laurynas Peciukaitis (183-G-85) of Topo-centras Atletas Kaunas
5 Steponas Babrauskas (197-G-84) of Lietuvos rytas Vilnius
6 Jonas Maciulis (200-G/F-85) of  B.C. Zalgiris Kaunas
7 Arturas Jomantas (202-G/F-85) of Mazeikiai Nafta
8 Linas Lekavicius (186-G-84) of American Univ
9 Marius Prekevicius (197-F-84) of  Weatherford JC
10 Valdas Dabkus (202-F-84) Anwil Wloclawek
11 Linas Kleiza (203-F-85) of Missouri
12 Michailas Anisimovas (216-C-84) of BC Siauliai
13 Paulius Jankunas (203-F-84) of B.C. Zalgiris Kaunas
14 Paulius Joneliunas (209-C-84) of S.Carolina
15 Darius Silinskis (216-C-84) of Alita-Savy Alytus
Head coach  Ramunas Butautas of BC Siauliai
Assistant coach Rimas Kurtinaitis of  BC Kiev
4 Andrei Komarovski (195-G-85) of Samara
5 Andrei Ivanov (197-G/F-84) of  Avtodor Saratov
6 Alexei Kuznetsov (203-F-84) of BC Khimki
7 Viktor Keyru (200-G-84) of Euras Ekaterinburg
8 Vitali Fridzon (194-G-85) of Toliatti
9 Dimitri Sokolov (212-C-85) of Lokomotiv Rostov
10 Vadim Panine (200-G-84) of Dynamo Moscow Region
11 Roman Levter (208-F/C-84) of BK Krasnodar
12 Andrei Babitchev (208-F/C-85) of Lokomotiv Rostov
13 Egor Vialtsev (192-G-85) of CSKA Moscow
14 Aleksei Goliakhov (190-G-84) of BC Khimki
15 Vladimir Chevel
Head Coach: Juri Selikhov
Coach Assistant: Vladimir Trunov of Sakha-Jakutia Jakutsk
4 Vukasin Aleksic (184-G-85) of BC Hemofarm Vrsac
5 Mladen Sljivancanin (200-G/F-85) of  KK Spartak Subotica
6 Bojan Stajic (198-G-84) of Radnicki Beograd
7 Aleksandar Rasic (193-G-84) of  KK Borac Caca
8 Milos Markovic (201-G/F-84) of KK Masinac Krajlevo
9 Branislav Ratkovica (192-G-85) of Atlas Banka Novi Beograd
10 Ivan Koljevic (186-G-84) of Buducnost Podgorica
11 Zarko Rakocevic (205-F-84) of BC Buducnost Podgorica
12 Vladan Vukosavljevic (204-F-84) of Lovcen Cetinje
13 Kosta Perovic (217-C-85) of Partizan Beograd
14 Nenad Misanovic (217-C/F-84) of Hemofarm Vrsac
15 Ivan Radenovic (209-F/C-84) of Arizona (NCAA)
Head coach: Stevan Karadzic
Assistant coach: Igor Polahek
4 Jure Mocnik (190-G-85) of Helios Domzale
5 Zan Vrecko (192-G-86) of Pivovarna Lasko
6 Domen Lorbek (196-G/F-85) of Triglav Kranj
7 Matej Venta (187-G-84) of Krka Novo Mesto
8 Miha Fon (195-G-84) of Triglav Kranj
9 Dane Dmitrovic (210-F/C-84) of Union Olimpija
10 Goran Dragic (190-G-86) of Ilirija
11 Saso Zagorac (206-F/C-84) of Union Olimpija
12 Mensud Julevic (201-F-85) of Triglav Kranj
13 Stanko Sebic (204-F/C-84) of Kemoplast
14 Hasan Rizvic (210-C-84) of Pivovarna Lasko
15 Erazem Lorbek (210-F/C-84) of Climamio Bologna (ITA)
Head coach: Ivan Sunara of Siroki
Assistant coach: Ivan Perica
4 Rafa Huertas (189-G-84) of Unicaja Malaga
5 Alejandro Urtasun (193-G-84) of Leon
6 Josep Mestres (207-F/C-85) of FC Barcelona
7 Alberto Corbacho
8 Victor Sada (192-G-84) of FC Barcelona
9 Saul Blanco (189-G-85) of Gijon
10 Jose M. Urtasun (193-G-84) of CAI Zaragoza
11 Jose Maria Guzman (183-G-84) of Joventut
12 Josep Ortega (201-C-84) of Gijon
13 Jan Martin (202-F/C-84) of Estudiantes
14 Marc Gasol (213-C-85) of FC Barcelona
15 Ramon Espuna (206-C-84) of FC Barcelona
Head coach: Oscar Quintana of CAI Zaragoza
Assistant coach: Carlos Sergio
4 Dmitri Zabirchenko (190-G-84) of Azovmash
5 Timur Yevseyevych (180-G-85) of Dnipro
6 Taras Ponomarenko (198-G-85) of BC Kiev
7 Artem Shvets (203-G/F-85) of BC Kiev
8 Dmitri Dyatlovsky (198-G-85) of BC Kyiv
9 Vladyslav Podolyan (196-G-86)
10 Sergei Gorbenko (201-F-85) of BC Kiev
11 Dimitri Shevchenko (197-F-85) of MBC Odessa
12 Yevgen Oliynyk (208-C-84) of MBK Nikolaev
13 Artem Chemyakin (208-C-84) of BC Kiev
14 Olexei Pecherov (211-C-85) of BK Politekhnik Kharkov
15 Vladimir Orlenko (214-C-85) of Avtodor Saratov (RUS)
Head coach: Andrei Shaptala of Dnipro
Assistant coach Oleg Ruban of BK VPVO Kiev
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