Sweden made a big step today towards surviving in Division A with an 81-76 triumph over Ukraine in the Classification Round of the U18 European Championship at Siemens Arena in Vilnius, Lithuania on Wednesday afternoon.
Sweden climbed to a 2-1 record at the end of the first round of games, while Ukraine dropped to 1-2.
A unique comeback paved the way to Sweden who were already down by 13 with only 5 minutes left to play, but wrote a 15-0 run in 3 minutes to reverse the score, take their first ever lead in the game and walk out with great pride.
No less than 6 players scored in double-digit for Sweden as Marcus Eriksson led the winner with 17 points and 8 rebounds, Jonathan Person had a great game and missed just one assist to reach a triple-double with 14 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists, Viktor Gaddefors added 14 while Samir Ali and William Magarity added 12 each.
Klym Artamonov led Ukraine with 22 points and 7 assists, Dmytro Marchenko scored his championship high with 20, Olexiy Len added 13 points, 13 rebounds and 7 blocks while Oleksandr Prokopenko added 13 as well.
Ukraine dominated the game from the start and took a 5-16 lead after 8 minutes with points from the back court by Prokopenko and Artamonov.
Marchenko hit off dribble shots and Len dominated under the rims to expand the gap to 17 with twice more points, 17-34 midway in the 2nd quartrer and Sweden seemed in trouble.
Before the 1st half buzzer Marchenko added 4 more points and kept his team above, 25-39 to enter the 2nd part of the game with some comfort.
After missing Charles Barton with an injury in the 2nd quarter, Sweden earned Person who stepped up and led the first come back, all the way to 50-54 after 27 minutes, and his three pointer shaved one more point right before the 3rd quarter finished, but Ukraine was ready with answers.
Len and Marchenko inside and Artamonov with Prokopenko from outside pushed the gap back to 13, 59-72 with 5 minutes on the clock and then things started to turn.
Person scored 6 and Magarity added a jumper and soon it was just a one point game.
A missed jumper by Artamonov sent Sweden on a fast break that was finished with a corner three pointer by Eriksson and a big 74-72 lead in favor of Sweden.
Artamonov still tied the game from the arc with a minute to play but Eriksson hit another big shot from the perimeter and Ali Hussein finished off on the fast break to complete the huge come back with a win.
Sweden will try to continue the great momentum against Bulgaria while Ukraine will fight Germany in the next set of games.