Coming in to the final day of Round 2 of the FIBA Men U20 European Championships there were two teams, Latvia and Greece, that were undefeated through the first and second rounds. After Round 2, not so much… Both clubs were beaten on the final day, France stunned Latvia, 79:74, and Turkey stopped Greece, 72:70.
With Wednesday’s contests, the next round, the quarterfinals, are set. With Turkey’s win over Greece they take over the Num 1 spot in Group E, putting Greece in the Num 2 position. Lithuania finished Num 3 with a 3-2 record and Montenegro earned the final spot in the playoffs with their win over Germany. In Group F Latvia remained on the top of the group despite their loss, Italy moves to the second spot with their 3-2 record, Spain and Russia take slots three and four, respectively.
The QF match-ups will be (games will be held on July 19th):
Turkey – Russia
Latvia – Montenegro
Greece – Spain
Italy – Lithuania
Montenegro – Germany, 75:64
In a match that was going to send one club to the quarterfinals and one to the consolation round, Montenegro got 30 from Masan Vrbica on a 6 of 7 night from behind the arc, to propel Montenegro over Germany, 75:64, into a QF match-up with Latvia.
Germany fell behind 22:12 after the first, and then found themselves down 40:28 at the break. They picked up three in the third and were able to pull to within three at 58:55, but then Montenegro pulled away to secure their seat in the quarters.
Vrbica led all scorers with 30 for Montenegro, Milos Latkovic added 16. Bogdan Radosavljevic dropped in 22 for the Germans.
Lithuania – Croatia, 70:65
Lithuania and Croatia played to ties in the first and fourth quarters, but the Lithuanians got an advantage in the second to give them a spot in the quarterfinals, where they will meet Italy. Croatia falls short of the playoffs with a 1-4 record.
The first frame ended with the clubs knotted at 14, but Lithuania put up six on the Croatians in the second to take a 33:27 margin into the break. Croatia cut the lead by one in the third, but actually held the lead for a short time before Lithuania ran off seven unanswered to head into the fourth up 52:47. In the fourth the Lithuanians ran off another nine straight to get up 61:49, but Croatia fought back, only to come up short, 70:65.
Vaidas Kariniauskas was game-high for Lithuania with 24, Martynas Paliukenas added 16, and Laimonas Chatkevicius contributed a 10P/12R double-double. Luka Panduric and Domagoj Samac scored 13 each for the Croatians.
Turkey – Greece, 72:70
Turkey took the top spot in Group E after racing out to an 18:0 lead in the first quarter over previously unbeaten Greece. By the time the Greeks had scored their first points, over six minutes had ticked off the clock. To close out the first frame, Greece outscored Turkey 11:2, to wrap up scoring in the quarter 20:11. In the second the two played to a 16-all tie, to give Turkey a 36:27 lead at the break. Greece took control in the third, putting up 10 on the Turks and taking the lead with a 27:17 quarter, sending the game into the final frame with Greece up 54:53.
Greece hit the first points of the fourth, but then Turkey ran off 11 unanswered to get up 64:56 with just over six minutes to play. Shortly after, Greece hit eight straight to cut the margin to two, 69:67. Turkey got a three-point play with just over a minute to play, to stretch the lead to five, 72:67. With 37 seconds to play Greece got a triple to fall to bring them back within two. Turkey missed a jumper with 15 seconds left, which was rebounded by Greece, but a travel call gave the ball back to Turkey, who ran out the clock to preserve the big win.
Erbil Eroglu was tops for Turkey with 23 points, with Tayfun Erulku adding 19, and Tamazan Tekin dropping 11. Lefteris Bochordis was game-high with 24 points, and Ioannis Papapetrou added 20.
Italy – Russia, 88:70
Italy came out strong, earning a spot in the quarterfinals by building a double-digit lead in the first, en route to an 18-point beating of Russia, who also qualified to move on. Italy ends up finishing in second in Group F, while Russia grabs the final spot in the group after Slovenia failed to beat Spain by more than 16.
Aristide Landl was game-high for Italy with 26, Awudu Abass added 18. Aleksandar Gudumak scored 17 for Russia, who will now face Turkey in the first game of the playoffs. Italy will square off against Lithuania
Slovenia – Spain, 75:72
Slovenia not only needed to beat Spain, but they needed to win by 16 to qualify for the quarterfinals. Spain was already in, so they already knew they they were going to lace up their sneakers another day. Slovenia came out swinging, putting up nine, 23:14, on the Spaniards. The Slovenians added another two in the second to take a 41:30 advantage into the dressing rooms at the break. Spain fought back into the contest in the third, outscoring the Slovenians 21:10, to tie the score at 51.
Spain got the first five points of the fourth quarter to get up 56:51, only to have Slovenia counter with 10 unanswered to got up 61:56. With just over two minutes left Slovenia was up 68:60, but then Spain went on an 11:4 run to cut the lead to a point, 72:71. Slovenia hit three of five free throws down the stretch to keep out front, all while knowing that even through they were taking the contest, they were no longer in contention for the title.
Kuka Rupnik paced Slovenia with 20 points, Ziga Dimec added 17, and Tomaz Bolcina dropped a 13P/13R double-double in the win. Guillem Vives was game-high for Spain with 24 and Daniel Diez added 21 points and 9 rebounds.
France – Latvia, 79:74
Coming into the contest with Latvia, France knew that they couldn’t make the playoffs, just like Latvia knew that they were going to end up in the top spot of the group regardless of what transpired. In an inspired performance, ‘Les Blues’ led most of the contest behind strong first and third quarters, where they outscored Latvia 27:19, and 18:11. France led 48:40 at the break and then extended their margin with a 13:2 run to open the second half. At the end of the 30th minute, France was up 66:51. Latvia got things going in the fourth, outscoring France 23:13, but it was too little, too late giving France a moral victory.
William Howard scored 17 for France, with Alexandre Chassang adding 14. Peteris Rekis scored 16 for Latvia.
Menu U20 European Championships – Round 2
Group E Matches[matches league_id=31 group=E template=summary dateformat=”M. j, Y”]
Standings – Group E[standings league_id=31 group=E show_website=false template=nolink]
Group F Matches[matches league_id=31 group=F template=summary dateformat=”M. j, Y”]
Standings – Group F[standings league_id=31 group=F show_website=false template=nolink]