Both Serbia and France now hold solo leads of their respective groups in the FIBA U16 European Championships at the end of Day 5 of the competition. Here is a quick recap of the action that took place among the teams battling it out for gold and glory.
The Turkish team upset hosts Latvia with big 73-46 win that has raised them to second place in the group’s standings with a 3-1 record. Latvia on the other hand, has an even 2-2 record and are clinging precariously to the third position. Turkey was carried to victory by the tournament’s fourth leading scorer, Omer Faruk Yurtseven, who did some serious damage with his double-double performance of 20 points and 10 rebounds. Turkey’s offense was on track as early as the first quarter, while their strong defense held Latvia to only 13 points for the entire first half. Latvia attempted to make a comeback with their three-point shooting, but managed to convert just three of their 22 shots from deep.
Croatia finally got their first win in the second stage of the competition with their 69-64 win over Lithuania. The Croatian team was able to dig deep during the fourth quarter and comeback from what seemed like a destined win for Lithuania. An energetic Mate Kalajzic made key plays for Croatia and kept their spirits lifted throughout the crucial moments of the game. He scored 15 points, took down seven rebounds, and handed out five assists. Teammates Kresimir Ljubicic and Luka Kortulja were tied for top scoring honors with 16 points each.
Serbia kept themselves on their winning track with their fourth straight victory. This one was a dominating 89-52 performance over Bosnia and Herzegovina . This is Bosnia’s first third loss and at 1-3 are have the same record as Croatia and Lithuania in this second stage of the competition. Serbia took control of the game early and built a commanding 50-24 lead at the end of the first half. From that point, Bosnia struggled to chipped at the daunting lead set up by the Serbian squad. Borisa Simanic led Serbia with 22 points and six rebounds.
Germany earned a key win the competition by edging out Italy 68-67. The victory gave them an identical 3-1 record with their opponents and allowed them to leapfrog over them in the group standings to land in second place. They face a struggling but determined Russian team on Day 6, but Italy has to contend with group leaders France in what should be a challenging game. Germany got a massive game from the tournament’s leading scorer Kostja Mushidi, who logged a double-double with 21 points and 11 boards.
Poland scored their win in the second stage at the expense of Russia, 88-78. Poland executed well on offense and rained down three-pointers on their opponents, going 11-of-22 from downtown. Dominik Rutkowski played aggressively and was rewarded with several trips to the free throw line. He made the most of his opportunities and sank 11 of his 14 free throw attempts, allowing him to lead Poland with 21 points and seven rebounds. Russia tried to out-duel their opponents from the outside, but did not see as much success, managing to sink just six of their 20 shots from beyond the arc.
France managed to keep Spain winless in this stage of the competition at 0-4, with their 69-56 victory. The French used a big rally in the third period, outscoring Spain 16-5 to gain a clear advantage heading into the final quarter. France displayed good defense accumulating double the steals in the game over their opponents 12-6. Killan Tillie was the top man for France 20 points and 11 rebounds. He is currently eighth in the competition in rebounds per game with 7.8 rpg. Pol Figueras was the only Spaniard to manage to hit double figures with 10 points.