Poland clinched their Division A status by beating Ukraine 76-67 in a Group A encounter at the Lietuvos Rytas Arena in Vilnius, Lithuania on a Saturday afternoon.
|Giant center Przemyslaw Karnowski was again a reliable anchor for his team|
They hold a 2-1 record in the group and will wait for the final result of the clash between Lithuania and Slovenia to know their final standings, while Ukraine dropped to 0-3 and will fight in the Classification Round to stick in the top division one more year.
Mateusz Ponitka and Przemyslaw Karnowski led the winners with 15 points each while the big guy also added 8 rebounds. Michal Sokolowski added 14.
Vyacheslav Motorchuk scored a tournament high of 15 points, Olexiy Len played well for Ukraine and wrote his 2nd double-double in the competition with 13 points, 11 rebounds and added 3 blocks.
It wasn't an easy job for Poland who held a small lead throughout most of the game, but didn't find the way to make the game one-sided.
Despite a great start with a 15-4 lead as Karnowski collected points, Ukraine presented Dmytro Marchenko who cut the margin to 23-20.
Both sides went silent early in the 2nd quarter and the first points were scored only after 2:30 minutes, but Ukraine stretched it a bit too far and joined the scoring party only after 4 minutes, yet Poland was only 7 points ahead.
Motorchuk created plays and capped the scoring in the 1st half to make it a 35-31 game after 20 minutes.
Ponitka stepped up after the break with two hits from long range, to push the gap to 16, 61-45 but the other side of the table wasn't ready to give up.
With 4 minutes on the game clock Len hit a three pointer to write a 68-64 score on the board and raise hopes, but it took Poland 12 seconds to reply, with a three hit of their own to reach the final verdict of the game.