2.Halperin, ISR 20.4
3.Koljevic, SRB 20.4
5.Gasol, ESP 18.3
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
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
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.
66-61 (20-8; 30-32; 45-50)
Jure Mocnik 15+4as, E.Lorbeck 15+8reb, Rizvic 10+13reb...
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
comeback was steady rather than spectacular.
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
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
after the game.
"My coach told
me just to keep playing like I play in Slovenia, and the shots I took
with a free throw but
replied with a drive and basket and Slovenia had
the lead with 33 seconds to go.
for Israel, Raviv Limonad got a bit too enthusiastic on his foul attempt
and he was called for an intentional on
Jure Mocnik .
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
as the top scorer for Slovenia, although he was limited to 29 minutes
before fouling out. He had 15 points while
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.
FOR 3. PLACE
Lithuania - Greece
92-63 (20-19; 47-37; 67-49)
Lıthuanıa: Jomantas 23+6reb, Kleiza 19+6reb, Babrauskas 15+5st,
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.
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,
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.
around, however, there is no consolation for Greece.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Serbia & Montenegro
86-101 (19-16; 35-31; 57-62)
Komarovski 22+4st, Keirou 16+8reb, Vyaltsev 12, Kuznetsov 10+5reb...
Koljevic 30+5as, markovic 24+15reb, Vukosavljevic 13+9reb, Radenovic
11+4reb, Stajic 10...
Rep. - Latvia
79-100 (14-22; 26-49; 48-76)
Klimanek 22, Kraus 19+7reb, Steffel 11+6reb...
Jahovics 26+8reb, Vairogs 15, Sirsnins 14...
80-76 (20-18; 35-39; 64-53)
Verameyenka 28+13reb, Paliashchuk 20+5reb, Mishukou 13+8reb...
Dyatlovskyy 19+5reb, Gorbenko 19+10reb, Oliynyk 11+4reb...
Spain - Croatia
78-71 (27-15; 45-38; 62-52)
J.Urtasun 16, Gasol 15, A.Urtasun 14, Huertas 12, Espuna
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...
E.Lorbek 25+6st, Rizvic 17+6reb, D.Lorbek 16...
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
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
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.
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,
But the third
period proved to be their undoing.
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.
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
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.
88-82 (15-13; 36-29; 60-48)
32+7reb, Limonad 18, Eliyahu 16+6reb...
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.
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
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
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
Erazem Lorbek's 2 free throws gave his side an unassailable, 74:67
Erazem Lorbek scored 10 of his 31 in the 4th quarter, and brother
Domen added 13 for the game.
83-82 (18-22; 35-37; 57-59)
Halperin 20, Kazarnovski 19+10reb, Limonad 15+4as, Eliyahu 12+7reb...
Radenovic 22, 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.
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
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.
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.
overwhelming obstacles, Halperin still scored 20 points and Israel gave
the performance of the tournament.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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...
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
(17-16; 39-34; 66-48)
Greece: Vasileiadis 25+4reb...
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
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.
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
- 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.
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.
Republic 85 -
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
Lithuania 73 -
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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 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.
- Slovenia 65
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
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
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.
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.
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
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 -
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,
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.
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,
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 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
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
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.
Latvia 76 -
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
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
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
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
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.
and Spain open with big wins
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 -
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
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
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 -
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.