|14 July 2007|
Ronalds Zakis and Rihards Kuksiks each scored 27 points and Latvia made eight of 10 free throws in the final 1:28 to hold off FYR of Macedonia 90-82 and relegate FYROM to Division B of the U20 European Championship Men.
Reinis Strupovics added 17 points and 12 rebounds as well as two big three-pointers early in the fourth quarter in helping Latvia build a 10-point lead with four minutes to play, which proved enough for the victory.
FYROM held tight with Latvia for the first 33 minutes of the game but couldn't overcome Latvia's size in the low post, with Raivo Otersons's team out-rebounding FYROM 55-28.
FYROM led by six points in the first quarter but Latvia were ahead 28-24 after one period. It was a one-point Latvian lead - 45-44 - at the break and the Baltic nation was ahead 63-60 going into the fourth.
Strupovics sandwiched three-pointers around a bomb from Kuksiks in opening a 76-66 advantage. FYROM would eventually fight back and bring the deficit down to three points, 84-81.
But Kuksiks made two foul shots with 36 seconds to play and Zakis, who also had 12 rebounds, made four straight in the final 31 seconds to secure the win.
Vojdan Stojanovski led FYROM with 20 points.
Earlier in the day, Dimitrios Verginis scored 15 points and Dimitrios Karadolamis added 13 as Greece knocked off Hungary 62-45, relegating Hungary to Division B without a victory at the U20 European Championship Men.
Gyorgy Cseh scored 11 points for Hungary, who lost all six of their games.