Moldova launched their bid for glory at the European Championship Small Countries Men, Monday, with a resounding victory over Gibraltar. There were also triumphs for Malta and hosts San Marino.
|Anton Rulevski led Moldova to an easy win|
In the First Round, Group A clash, Vladimir Priscepnii dominated with 14 points and 14 rebounds in an 81-62 Moldova victory.
The Moldovans stormed into an 18-9 advantage by the end of the first quarter and extended that to 38-26 by half-time but Gibraltar twice pulled to within five early in the second half after baskets by 19-year-old Jamie Sercombe and 34-year-old Adam Cassaglia.
That was as close as they would get.
Moldova, who won the silver medal in Edinburgh in 2008, stayed comfortably ahead and lowered the boom at the start of the fourth quarter with six unanswered points to go on top, 67-49.
They pulled away for a decisive win.
Also for the winners, Anton Rulevski and Vladimir Colesnicov poured in 14 and 13 points, respectively.
Each grabbed eight rebounds.
Point guard Nicolai Coputerco added 11 points, five assists and eight boards.
Dylan Gomez had 13 points and eight rebounds and Sam Buxton 11 points and 10 boards for Gibraltar.
Malta used a strong start as a platform for a 75-64 victory over Scotland on the opening day action in Group B.
Paolo Di Fonzo's side, which led from beginning to end, only led 9-6 in the first quarter but got back-to-back three pointers from Omar Said and Addison Bonnici.
|The towering figure of Samuel Deguara dominated on defense as well as on offense for Malta|
After going in front by 13, Malta finished the quarter on top, 24-14.
A couple of baskets by Darryl Jackson sparked the Maltese on a 9-0 run to start the second half.
Scotland battled back and closed the gap to five points three minutes into the fourth quarter.
But Malta finished strong and recorded a 11-point triumph.
Jackson had 15 points and Said 14 for Malta while for Scotland were led by Daniel Huffor's 17.
Nicholas Collins had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Scots with Gareth Murray scoring 14 and grabbing nine boards.
Also in Group B, San Marino prevailed 58-53 over Wales, who led by as many as seven points late in the first half but couldn't press home the advantage.
Sergio Del Bianco's team took the lead for good with an 11-0 run to start the third quarter.
A three-pointer by Stefano Rossini put San Marino on top, 34-33, and they had their noses in front to stay.
Center Enrico Zanotti had 16 points and 12 rebounds for the winners, who also got 12 points and 11 boards from Andrea Raschi.
Ioan Nickson, a 23-year-old forward, led the Welsh with 16 points and six rebounds.